At Home In Darien: Taking you for a ride


Rick Tymon thinks he’s got the best job a guy can get.

Up to three days every week, Tymon is behind the wheel of a van, picking up Darien senior citizens. He’s also hearing about their aches and pains, their families and anything else they’d care to share.

And Tymon can’t imagine a better gig.

“It’s really not like work at all,” he said. “When you’re stuck at a desk 40, 50 hours a week, it’s not fun. This is much better.”

Tymon is one of four drivers for At Home In Darien, a local organization focused on helping Darien’s seniors live as independently in their own homes and the community as possible. At Home In Darien provides rides to all town seniors and disabled people in need of a lift. While there is no charge for a ride, riders are asked to donate if they can.

The organization has given the rides around town for about 25 years, when At Home was known as Gallavant.

Tymon, 68, has driven for 10 years.

He took it up because he’s always worked and wanted something to do after his more active jobs in fields like purchasing and sales were done. Tymon felt he was too young to stop working altogether, especially with bills not stopping.

“The corporate world was over, like it is for a lot of people, so you get to a certain age and you have to find something else to do,” he said. “And this is where I wound up.”

Tymon usually starts his day at 9 a.m., boarding the van and picking up local seniors in need of a lift somewhere in the area. A client may want to go to a doctor’s office in town, to see a specialist in Stamford or to go shopping in Norwalk or New Canaan.  Wherever they want to go, Tymon’s ready to roll when he’s at the wheel.

“They could have their own mobility or be in a wheelchair…whatever they have to do. You get them in there,” he said. “Sometimes they need assistance, a lot of times they don’t.”

Once the seniors are seated, though, Tymon knows time is important to his clients.

“They want to be there on time. Old people want to be there on time, that’s for sure,” he said. “They don’t want to be late, so you do your best to get them there on time.”

Not at the expense of safety, of course. Tymon doesn’t high-tail it for anyone, making sure all his riders get where they need to go without feeling nerves.”

Tymon is a driver, yes. But he’s also a listening ear for seniors who may live by themselves and don’t have other people to speak with on a daily basis. Whether it’s about family matters, irritation from a medical procedure, the weather or taxes, Tymon is part driver, part sounding board.

“They just like to talk to somebody and get it off their chest. Then they’re happy after that,” he said. “If they have a good listener, they like that.”

It helps that he’s also a senior citizen and can relate to many of their concerns. Plus he knows many of them being a fellow Darien resident.

“I can relate to them a lot easier than 10 years ago. They enjoy the company and they enjoy the conversation,” he said.

Tymon also noticed that the women he drives are more receptive and easier to deal with.

“Sometimes the men get a little crabby when they get old,” Tymon says with a laugh.

At Home Executive Director Gina Blum said Tymon and the other three drivers are well liked by most riders and appreciative of their company.

“Everyone is very appreciative of Rick. He’s very funny and they have a good relationship with him,” Blum said.

One rider saluted the drivers at the end of the year by making a cake for all of them to share, Blum said.

“It’s special that…people appreciate what our drivers do and the service they provide to the residents,” she said.

More than 3,300 riders were given by At Home, she said.

Residents who need a ride outside of normal hours or beyond the current service area can call At Home in Darien at 203-655-2227 to reserve a special trip with one of At Home’s volunteer riders.

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