It’s a common stereotype that women are bad drivers. And if you think so too then you haven’t come across pro drivers like this 21-year-old law student from Kochi who is breaking this taboo by driving a private bus in the city.
Ann Mary Ansalen, a student of Ernakulam Law College, is so passionate about driving that she has offered to drive a bus every Sunday through the busy Kakkanad-Perumbadappu road for free, reported The New Indian Express.
“I was crazy about large and heavy vehicles. Lorries, trucks, buses, you name it. That is why I drive the bus for free,” Ann told The New Indian Express.
Her love for driving bloomed when she was a mere 15-year-old teenager. That’s when she learned to drive her father’s Royal Enfield Bullet. “I learned it at 15 and then had to wait till I turned 18 to ride to college.”
Now, it’s been eight months that she’s been driving a bus named Hey Day every Sunday. “Other days, I drive the bus to its home every evening. Those days, the driver parks the bus at a nearby fuel station. After class, I take it to its owner’s house, who is my neighbour,” shared Ann.
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Reminiscing the first day she drove the bus on the busy lanes, Ann divulged, “I still remember the first day I drove the bus.”
“People were shocked and terrified seeing a woman driving. In the initial weeks, I was a novelty. And many were scared to see a woman driving. They thought an accident was sure to happen. However, now they are used to seeing me driving through this route every Sunday.”
Ann also highlighted that initially, it made people uncomfortable when they saw a woman driving a heavy vehicle.
“They used to chase and try to overtake my bus. It was very discomforting. Many of them also used to make bad and offensive comments.”
But now, the other employees on the bus, such as the conductor, are now her friends. “After every shift, we also eat together. There is a bad impression about all bus drivers. There are both good and bad people in every field, the same is the case here.”
Ann’s family has always been her avid supporter. In fact, it was her neighbor (the bus’ original driver) who encouraged her.
“He taught me to drive and control a bus and patiently let me practice. He is the one who gave me the opportunity to drive the bus. My grandmother Maryamma also encouraged me since childhood. She knew about my love for vehicles.”
“I am a bit of an introvert. However, I always want to see things through and make sure I learn something fully if I develop an interest. That is why I am now learning law and driving the bus at the same time. My dream is to become a judge,” says Ann, whose mother Smitha George is a district additional judge in Palakkad.
Ann is wonderfully cruising her way into a profession usually dominated by men. You go, girl!