Eighteen years ago, an anonymous friend donated a car to the El Camino Hospital to be used as transportation for patients who had no way to get to their out-patient appointment. It was the beginning of something called Roadrunner Transportation Services.
Today, the hospital maintains four station wagons that provide door-to-door transportation service for ambulatory patients. The drivers are all senior volunteers.
Bill Press is a volunteer auxiliary roadrunner. He drives patients two days a week so they can meet their medical appointments in the dialysis center, radiation therapy, surgery center or the older adult transition program.
"When you are retired there are times when you feel worthless," Press said. "When I volunteer, it makes me feel like I'm worth something. It gets me off the golf course and I can do something challenging for people who need help."
Anne Turbeville, coordinator of transportation and communi-call services, said all the drivers are seniors.
"The drivers understand what they are doing. Many of them were patients at El Camino Hospital, but they see people who have a more serious illness than they had, and they want to help," Turbeville said. "Our drivers are a special group and all want to be independent."
Dick Brude,III, has been a patient roadrunner the past four months. He came from the American Red Cross where he drove patients for years.
"I'm a giver, not a taker. I like to help people," he said. "I can't stand doing nothing - that's why I enjoy driving patients to meet their appointments. My wife volunteers at the Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford as a receptionist."
Roadrunner drivers pick up patients living within a 10-mile radius of El Camino Hospital. The service is provided for patients being discharged or with any type of medical appointment including dental, rehabilitation, dialysis, and outpatient services.
Advance reservations are recommended. Same day appointments may be made on a space available basis. One way trip fees are as follows: 0-2 miles, $5.50; 3-5 miles, $7.25; 6-7 miles $10.50; 8-10 miles, $13.75.
The hospital bills the patient for the transportation once a month.
For patient rides, or people who would like to volunteer to drive, call 940-7016.