Most of us try to avoid getting stuck in traffic behind a school bus.  It’s  annoying having to stop every time they do, and wait while the kids disembark.  My children walked to school in the good old days when it wasn’t considered child neglect, so I had never met a school bus driver until recently.  And now, I have a new respect for the brave souls who assume such awesome responsibility.  Hooray for School Bus Drivers!

My school bus driver is someone I met while doing water aerobics.  First, I must describe her appearance because she’s straight out of central casting.  A bit plump, bright blue eyes, rosy cheeks, short blond hair, and a a warm smile.   She loves to chat with everyone, regardless of their color or social status.

School Bus Drivers often face icy roads

This morning, it was extremely cold outside, and I asked her how she felt about driving on icy roads.  She replied, ‘I go very,  very slow.”  She added that a bus is extremely heavy, and  doesn’t perform too well on ice.  It simply rolls, and you just have to hang on and hope it doesn’t  go off the road..    That’s when I realized what a tremendous responsibility these people have.  I think that the first time my school bus rolled into a ditch, I would turn in my badge.

In the locker room, we continued our conversation about her job.  She takes it very seriously.  “I’m the first person they see in the morning on their way to school, and the last person they see before they get home,” she said. “So I always greet them with a smile, and tell them goodbye as they leave.”   She paused a minute, and looked off into the distance.  “I really love my kids,” she said.  “And I’ll bet they love you ,too” I replied.  She looked pensive for a moment. “Yes,” she said. “they do.”   Knowing this lady, I’m sure she is loved by all the children, even the unruly ones.  She’s a strong woman, who probably has to intervene in many fights and endure a bit of back talk from time to time.  And yet, she loves her job.

Now, when I see a school bus, I imagine it’s my friend behind the wheel, and I no longer feel annoyed when I see the brake lights and the stop sign  drops from the side window.   It’s going to snow a lot next week in much of the United States , with  treacherous driving conditions.  I’ll be thinking about all these unsung heroes and heroines, and wishing them godspeed.

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