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Back on the Job : 'I Really Love It; It's the Best Job I've Ever Had' : Bernard Gutierrez: 65-year-old says his job of transporting seniors and the disabled makes him feel like 'you've done something rewarding.'

July 18, 1993

IRVINE — Here are three retirees who, out of boredom, went back to work. Their stories are on E2.

* Bernard Gutierrez, a former baker now working at what he calls "the best job I've ever had," as a driver for Tailored Residential Irvine Paratransit Services.

* Charlie Rypczynskiroger, a former Pacific Telephone building engineer, who couldn't wait to retire and now works 40 hours a week as a conductor on the Disneyland Railroad.

* Bud Morris, a longtime corporate executive who is reliving a bit of his past by producing big-band shows for "seasoned" citizens.

*

Bernard Gutierrez pulled the white van into the parking lot of the apartment complex off University Drive, then swung around to the entrance where a young disabled woman in a three-wheeled electric scooter was waiting for him.

"Hi, Julie; how are you?" Gutierrez said with a grin, after opening the side door and lowering the wheelchair ramp.

"Fine, thanks," said Julie Inman, 28, who suffered a cerebral brain hemorrhage at age 15.

It was 7:30 a.m. on a recent weekday and Inman--on her way to the Dayle McIntosh Center for the Disabled clubhouse in Santa Ana--was Gutierrez's first pickup of the day.

By 4:10, when he picked up an 88-year-old Irvine woman at UCI Medical Center in Orange, he will have transported 16 people.

As a driver for Tailored Residential Irvine Paratransit Services (TRIPS)--a division of the City of Irvine's Community Services--Gutierrez puts in three full-time days a week transporting senior citizens and disabled people.

"I really love it," said the 65-year-old Irvine resident. "It's the best job I've ever had."

Gutierrez spent 44 years working as a baker before retiring in 1991. Following the footsteps of his father, Gutierrez began working part time at Langendorf Bakery in the City of Commerce as a high school student during World War II. After a stint in the Navy, where he worked as a baker on board ship, he returned to Langendorf in 1948.

Gutierrez had planned to continue working until he was 65, but in 1991 the food company he worked for was closing its bread and roll division in Commerce and transferring employees to a plant near Dodger Stadium.

After three months, however, he began looking for a part-time job.

"I was bored and wanted to continue doing something," said Gutierrez, who applied for warehouse work and other jobs. He wanted just enough hours to keep him busy because his wife, Mary, was still working as a medical transcriber. "Because of the recession, I'd go for interviews and there would be long lines of people. I thought it was hopeless."

Then he signed up with Irvine-based Adult Careers, which helps find jobs for people 55 and older, and he was asked if he'd like to drive a van.

"When I got the job with TRIPS, it was wonderful," he said. "It was outdoors and something helping people, which I hadn't been doing. Working indoors in a bakery, you don't get to meet anybody."

What's the best part of the job?

"Getting up in the morning and having a purpose to get started, for one thing," he said.

And, he said, "you get to talk to the passengers. We talk about world events, local things. It's a fun job. And when you can be of service to someone in a wheelchair or someone who's blind and get them to the doctor's office and take them back home you feel like you've done something rewarding that day."

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