School bus drivers deserve our highest respect for all they do, day in and day out. Of course, it’s not just the paycheque, but also their love of the job and children that gets them behind the wheel.
A school bus driver must wear many hats … greeting riders, obeying the rules of the road, watching for hazards, driving in bad weather and keeping their riders safe… not an easy task while maneuvering a large bus.
While most students are well behaved, others are not and give the driver a hard time, yelling, cursing, bullying others and sometimes harassing the driver. Fortunately, we seldom hear of anything really serious happening in our neck of the woods, but we do hear of dangerous situations elsewhere involving violence and assault.
Back in my high school days I hopped on the bus in Corunna for the journey to St. Clair High in Sarnia. Remembering the bus drivers over those years, I have to say they were all great … vigilant, patient and good-humored.
One in particular was known as ‘Milky,’ as he was once a milkman. This personable, likeable fellow was a hit with all his riders. When my friends and I had the Beatles turned up full volume on our transistors, he seemed to enjoy the music as much as we did and would hum right along. (Anyone in authority who approved of the Beatles had to be cool!) While listening to our stories of the day, he would act like an interested parent.
On the odd occasion his patience would be tested by ‘the rowdies,’ who were much too loud and unruly. I can recall getting about halfway home to Corunna, when all of a sudden the bus would turn around and head to Point Edward and the Davies Bus Lines parking lot, known as ‘the bus barns.’
This meant we were in a heap of trouble and would be late arriving home that afternoon, by an hour or longer. Milky explained exactly what was happening and why. We sat in Point Edward until everyone had cooled off, at which time Milky started up the bus and away we went.
Our parents were not amused and neither was the school board. I believe we were verbally reprimanded, but that was about it.
So, kudos to Milky and all school bus drivers, past and present, for their dedication in picking up and dropping off ‘their kids’ each and every day, and for their kindness and friendship.
They will be remembered long after the last bus pulls out.
Nadine Wark is a retired office administrator and freelance writer who resides in Sarnia