Kids Deserve a Chance and Our Respect

Driving High School kids to and from home has been a pleasure.

Starting a new phase of my retirement years brought me to drive a school bus this past September. I wasn’t sure what to expect and of course heard the usual horror stories…some of which, I confess are true, but this job has been a revelation into many different facets of life. First, I now realize the enormous responsibility placed upon you when that first student walks through the doors and takes their seat. You are now responsible for the precious lives of somebody else’s children. What bigger responsibility could there be? Secondly was an unfortunate reality check that elementary-age kids are tough. They have not yet learned respect for adults or their own fellow students. Their parents are demanding and that may be why their kids are so difficult. But this is not to be a negative post so let’s move on.

This year has not been normal for any part of anyone’s life and it has been especially difficult for our kids. Their schedules have been totally disrupted and from week to week they do not know if they will be in school or remotely learning from home. Kids need stability and we have not supplied it this year. My route changed soon into the school year and I started driving Junior and Senior High School students…..these are the ones I was warned about…those stories could not have been more false.

These kids, with not a single exception, have been a pleasure to deliver to school and back home again at the end of their day. They may be a bit comatose in the morning and getting a hello or any response to my AM greeting is sometimes futile. But by the time we get to the school entrance and the kids are filing off the bus, every single one of them either thanks me or wishes me a good day….they thank me for giving them a lift to school. Who would have thought? Even some of the older guys who said nothing for the first week or so have been beaten down by kindness. My greetings are now met by theirs. I am so glad those warnings were simply fake news!

My first bus….The Big Twinkie

In addition to a regular route, I have also been able to give various sport teams a lift to and from their competitive venues. Boys, girls, Junior High, Senior High, all have one thing in common: respect. It puts a smile on my face when I get them to their destination or back to their home school and every one of them gives me a big thank you. These are just good kids and they deserve better from us. They deserve to be treated with respect for that is how they treat us. They need to get back to normal life as soon as possible. We have all had a bad year but as adults, we are better able to process our situation and the challenges thrown at us. These young people cannot. They miss the stability, they miss their friends, they miss their normalcy. The one thing I love most about these charter runs is the laughter. These kids are having fun and enjoying their time together. That is something that has been lacking for all of us this year.

It has been a huge eye-opener. Whether their hair is purple or green and their earrings are huge (and that’s the boys…) or their jeans are stylishly ripped and they have no coats on in freezing temps, they deserve our respect and not to be judged. In spite of it all, these are simply good kids and I am honored and humbled to be their driver.

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