1250 Bellflower Blvd. Long Beach, CA 90840 -- LA-4 201  --  (562) 985-8000.

Daily 49er

Extroverted shuttle driver shares his upbringing

Shuttle+driver+Mike+Kaye+is+known+for+his+being+chipper+in+the+morning+and+greeting+students+with+daily+quizzes.
Shuttle driver Mike Kaye is known for his being chipper in the morning and greeting students with daily quizzes.

Shuttle driver Mike Kaye is known for his being chipper in the morning and greeting students with daily quizzes.

Jenna Skarzenski / Daily 49er

Jenna Skarzenski / Daily 49er

Shuttle driver Mike Kaye is known for his being chipper in the morning and greeting students with daily quizzes.

Patrick Moreno, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Share On...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on RedditPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone
Print Friendly

Waiting for the shuttle every morning at Parkside Commons was typically a drag.

Students impatiently cut in line and plopped down on the last available seat. No one wanted to make eye contact, never mind have a conversation — unless Mike was behind the wheel.

Mike Kaye drove shuttles last year for Silverado Stages, a San Luis Obispo-based transportation company that provides shuttle service to Cal State Long Beach. He still drives this year, although he is now the on-site supervisor for shuttle operations.

“I don’t drive the shuttles enough anymore,” Kaye said. “I loved being around the kids.”

Kaye, who doesn’t have any kids of his own, was born in Bogota, Columbia in 1972. He spent some time with foster parents from England before he was adopted by an American-Jewish couple named Carol and Paul Klinghoffer, who had previously adopted another foster child named David. For business purposes, his father would later change their last name to Kaye.

“When I arrived here in America, I kind of spoke Spanish, with a British accent,” Kaye joked.

He explained that the language barrier was an obstacle to his early development.

“My brother was really good academically, so my mother always favored him and that always made me resent her,” Kaye said. “I was never great academically, but I really excelled at sports. That made my dad really proud, because my older brother wasn’t into sports.”

Kaye might have driven Formula One racecars if he wasn’t driving shuttles. Kaye used to visit Ascott raceway in Carson with his father when, one day, a booth caught his eye.

The company that ran the booth sold top-of-the-line go-karts, and lessons on how to race them. When his father asked him what he thought of the idea, Kaye lit up and said he would love to try the sport. However, when they arrived home, Mike’s mother was less than enthusiastic.

“I still think back to that day sometimes and wonder ‘what if?'” Kaye said. “I could’ve been a racecar driver. I’ve been driving since the age of 14 and I’ve never been in an accident!”

Although Kaye enjoyed sports and made it through elementary school, social problems developed as he got older.

“I got into fights a lot when I was younger, because I was a short Jew from the jungle,” Kaye said with a smile. “So my dad sent me to a psychologist who recommended a school of stricter discipline for me.”

Kaye’s father took the psychologist’s advice, and sent him to Riverside Military Academy in Gainsville, Ga.

Then, Kaye’s mother died when he was 14 years old, and he had to return from military school to drive his father, who was legally blind. People might think that returning from military school was a blessing, but Kaye recognized his time at military school as a formative period for him.

“Our school had a great soccer team,” Kaye said. “Wealthy South American families would send their sons to the academy and they were all great at soccer, so I kind of started to get into that.”

But Kaye really fit in with the wrestling team. One night, he was rolling around with a soccer player, who was also a trained wrestler. He won the match and decided he’d give wrestling a try.

“I remember loving that you competed by weight class,” Kaye said. “It made my height disadvantage less of an issue.”

Although Kaye doesn’t play sports anymore, he and his girlfriend always spend one weekend of football season in Oakland. However, his real devotion is to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

“That’s why I like my satellite radio,” Kaye said to a packed shuttle. “I can just listen to Angels coverage and heavy metal.”

Kaye stopped to let some people off the shuttle and then asked those that remained, over the bus intercom, “How many people know who Robert Trujillo is?”

He was met with a resounding silence. Kaye sighed, a little disappointed.

Robert Trujillo was the bass player for Suicidal Tendencies until he recently became the bassist for the newly reformed metal-idol band Metallica.

“Well, I knew Robert in high school,” Kaye said as a hush came over the shuttle. “He’s a really nice guy.”

It was the playful banter, like the impromptu rock ‘n’ roll quiz, that helps students enjoy shuttle rides with Kaye.

“I like riding with Mike in the morning because it leaves me with a positive outlook on my day,” freshman business major Kayleigh Laurino said.

You can catch Kaye in one of the half dozen or so shuttles that help make CSULB’s expansive campus tolerable everyday. Otherwise, you might hear him leaving campus, blasting heavy metal in his 10-speaker car.

The happy-go-lucky shuttle driver’s favorite part of the day is when he interacts with students.

Kaye said, “My grandfather used to say, ‘You better like what you do, because you’re going to do it for a long time,’ and I love what I do.”

 

Disclaimer: The Daily 49er is not responsible for Postings made on www.daily49er.com. Persons commenting are solely responsible for Postings made on this website. Persons commenting agree to the Terms of Use of the website. If Postings do not abide by the Rules of Conduct or Posting Regulations as listed in the Postings Policy, the Daily 49er has all rights to delete Postings as it deems necessary. The Daily 49er strongly advises individuals to not abuse their First Amendment rights, and to avoid language suggestive of hate speech. This site also encourages users to make Postings relevant to the article or other Postings.

 

Comments powered by Disqus

Share On...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on RedditPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




*

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • News

    Eligible Students to be Guaranteed CSU Admission

  • Extroverted shuttle driver shares his upbringing

    News

    Long Beach Seeks to Improve Local Music Scene

  • News

    Elderly and people with disabilities stand strong at LB city council meeting

  • Extroverted shuttle driver shares his upbringing

    Campus

    Parking permit rates to rise in July

  • Extroverted shuttle driver shares his upbringing

    2016 Election

    Comey – ‘“No Doubt’” Russian government interfered with presidential election

  • Extroverted shuttle driver shares his upbringing

    Campus

    CSULB President upholds campus’ commitment to curbing climate change

  • Extroverted shuttle driver shares his upbringing

    Campus

    CSULB to build downtown student housing center

  • Extroverted shuttle driver shares his upbringing

    Campus

    American Indian Studies honors students to the beat of a drum

  • Extroverted shuttle driver shares his upbringing

    Long Beach

    Long Beach searches for parking solutions

  • Extroverted shuttle driver shares his upbringing

    Campus

    CSULB graduates struggle to find work locally