By Ernie Fowler – Nashville CHSD #99
I’m convinced there will be a special place in Heaven for a group of people who are often taken for granted and overlooked for what they do to keep our kids safe.
I’m talking about school bus drivers.
They are a rare breed. We often talk about multi-tasking. Nobody can multi-task like a veteran bus driver.
They must focus on driving and observing all of the rules and regulations for being a school bus driver while, at the same time, maintaining order with students of various ages.
As a bonus, they are called upon to clean up a mess after a first grader has had one too many swigs of chocolate milk! There is nothing like the smell of regurgitated milk on a 95 degree day.
Good bus drivers develop a talent of being able to look forward while also keeping a sharp look out in the mirror for what is going on in the back of the bus.
I see a school bus as a classroom on wheels. I always expect our students to behave as if their teacher was in front of them. Bus drivers deserve the proper respect.
It is no easy task to receive a bus driver’s endorsement. There are so many hoops to jump through that many folks simply choose to find some other profession.
Bus drivers have to love what they do because they enjoy the children. Bus drivers certainly don’t get rich by piloting the yellow limousines. I don’t recall a bus driver ever parking their bus and getting into their Lexus.
Bus drivers work weird hours. They get up early, which is really tough on cold winter mornings, drive for a while then have to be ready to go later in the afternoon for the evening route.
Some bus drivers hurry back from the regular evening route in time to load up a team or organization for an event miles away.
One of the special attributes of a bus driver is their patience. They often drop the team off then wait, sometimes hours, for the event to conclude so they can get the team back home.
Bus drivers usually don’t have much say in when they get to call it a day. When I coached, I could see our driver tense up as the players would ask “can we stop and eat” after the game had concluded.
The poor bus driver had set through two basketball games, many times after running their daily routes, but he would smile and say, ”whatever the coach says”.
Of course, who was I to keep hungry kids from their Happy Meal!
In my days as a manager of a restaurant, I always gave the bus driver a free meal when the team stopped. I figured the least I could do was provide a hamburger and drink for their willingness drive.
Bus drivers have a very important job as, day or night; they are carrying our most precious cargo…our children.
Let’s all give them a big “thank you” for their dedication.