The JFCS Passport Around Louisville Service (PALS) helps senior adults, generally over the age of 60, maintain their independence by providing easy-to-use transportation services. Nick Paweski, one of four dedicated drivers, is a valuable addition to the program. Aaron Guffey, PALS’ Transportation Coordinator, says, “Nick is a thoughtful, personable and dependable driver for the PALs program, and I could not ask for more than that.”
Nick began driving for PALS over a year ago, coming from the Senior Concierge HomeCare program also at JFCS. When Nick heard about an available position as a driver for PALS, he immediately jumped at the chance. Nick likes his job for many reasons. “Personally,” he says, “what I like is being out of the office… it’s nice for me to have that mobility.” He also enjoys seeing the change of the seasons.
A benefit of working as a PALS driver is interacting with the seniors. He’s formed friendships with many of the clients and enjoys their inside jokes. Nick explains, “There’s someone that knows that I like crossword puzzles…so she gives me some crossword puzzles…. I know that she likes mystery books and I saw in the paper something about summer mystery books coming up.” Nick thought of her when he saw the ad. “We just exchange stuff like that,” Nick said, “and it’s nice to have a little rapport with them.”
Nick also enjoys helping people with different types of mental and physical conditions. “Some people have needs that are [more physical],” he says, “and some have needs that aren’t as easily seen as physical, but they’ve got some other needs.” He adds, “So it’s an interesting mix of people that we deal with and you just take things in your stride and enjoy their company.” Nick also prides himself and PALS on their punctuality; he feels happy when he can get seniors to their appointments and other commitments on time.
Nick humorously describes himself as a chauffeur. “I run around to the other side of the car,” he says, “and also a kind of funny thing is when they get in, I hand them their seatbelts.” Nick labels the significance of this action: “My sisters know that I do that for our family, so they were teasing me and saying, ‘Oh, we know that you hand people the seatbelts [like you do for us].’” Nick explains, “I just try to be courteous and do as much for that person all the way around.” He respects and cares for the seniors and goes out of his way to treat them like his family.
Nick finds joy in positively affecting others’ lives and participating as a PALS driver is one of many ways that Nick is able to do that. He gets fulfillment because of this job and hopes to continue working as a PALS driver for years to come.
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