For this dad, getting vaccinated meant a trip to the zoo with his daughter

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Joel Rodriguez and his daughter, Brooklyn Garcia, drove from Ridgecrest to San Diego to go to the zoo. Rodriquez got vaccinated in February, and this was their first road trip since the pandemic began. Photo by Joel Rodriguez.

As more businesses are slowly opening back up, and more vaccinated people are stepping outside of their bubble, KCRW asked listeners who have received their shots: How are you living differently now?

For Joel Rodriguez, getting vaccinated for work meant he could stay healthy for his daughter. 

“[We’re] from Ridgecrest, and in 2019 we got hit by a couple real big earthquakes. When the 7.1 [magnitude] hit, I was working at my job in Trona, and that was really scary for me because we didn't know if the road had gone out in between Trona and Ridgecrest, and I didn't know if I was going to be able to get home to her,” he says. “After that happened, I've been making conscious efforts to do everything I can to try and stay as healthy as I can for her.”

His vaccination also meant they could take their first father-daughter road trip in a year. Where to? The San Diego Zoo.

“I remember the first time we went to the zoo,” Rodriguez told his daughter, Brooklyn, as they’re driving. “You wanted to see a bear and a cactus.”

“A cactus?” she asked.

“Yeah, you really wanted to see a cactus for some reason. And then when we got there you saw a bunch of squirrels running around the trees, and you didn't want to leave. You just wanted to watch the squirrels.”

Rodriguez and Garcia checked out the flamingos, monkeys, zebras and giraffes.

“It was a bit overwhelming being out there with all the people again, but I think I can attribute that to just not having to deal with crowds for a year,” says Rodriguez. “But all in all, we had a great time. And I really look forward to doing more of these daddy daughter road trips like we used to.”

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