• Post category:Local News

by Jon James|

I’ll bet you didn’t even know that today (2/22) is Bus Driver and School Bus Driver Appreciation Day, did you?

Please, don’t go overthinking this and try Googling or Duck Duck Going it because you’ll begin to sweat and have some sort of breakdown when you see that places all over the country celebrate on different dates in February and even different months. Stay with me here and you won’t have to worry (and I know you will) about when to celebrate these tireless renegades of the roadway who carry passengers to and from destinations far and wide.

According to Dayfinders.com, it’s the day of the 2’s….2/22. In February of ’22, it would have been on 2/22/22. Cool! But I digress.

Take the time today to say “thanks” to your bus driver…whether it’s a city bus, a tour bus or a school bus. Especially if it’s a school bus!

School bus drivers may have the toughest job, carrying our precious cargo to and from school while being made fun of, hit with spitballs (do kids still do this?) and having to clean up some occasional puke from a kid that gets “bus sick.” No thank you!

Should you give your driver a gift or a tip to show your appreciation? Why not?! But what?

Money is always good! Probably not a good idea for a school bus driver though. There are probably rules about that.

City bus drivers? Sure…slip them a few coins or a couple of bills!

Shuttle bus drivers, like airport and hotel services, love tips. In fact, many put signs on their buses saying, “tips appreciated.”

Some even make announcements like, “you don’t get off until you drop some money in the tip can.”

Just kidding about that last one but, the way things are going, it might not be long before you hear something like that!

When I was a lad, I thought being a bus driver would be the coolest thing. I fear I may be veering into “TMI” territory with this story, but if you indulge me, you’ll know how pathetic I was as a child.

When I was nine or so, I’d line kitchen chairs up in the living room and have by brother, sister and parents sit behind me in their seats as I put myself up front as “the driver” of my imaginary bus…even making engine noises as we went along and shifting the “bus” using a baseball bat as a gear shift. That was actually pretty clever, no?

I probably wouldn’t want to pretend to drive a bus today. The allure to me was the manual stick shift and the manual door lever.

When I think back on this, I actually wonder who was more pathetic…me as the driver or my family as the passengers.

Fast forward a couple of years.

I found a junked bus at a local salvage yard….it was rusty on the outside and the windows were broken. It DID have a stick shift and door lever and I would go off by myself to the bus and make the same engine sounds I did at home but, instead of a baseball bat, I had a real stick shift. And working doors! I felt like I was pretty cool driving that bus, pretending to pick up MY FRIENDS and take them to school. I think I actually talked to them as they got on and said goodbye when they got off.

Looking back, I was a strange kid.

In my defense, I believe kids, especially little boys, love buses.

My precious grandson, Gavin, who just turned six, wants to be a bus driver when he grows up. He has for the last few years!

Knowing he’ll likely change his mind a few times before he’s an adult, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s some kind of large vehicle driver. His dad, Matt, my son, has driven big rigs, having gone to “truckin’ school” and gotten his CDL. Unlike me, he’s a good driver and likely (hopefully) his sons will follow in his footsteps.

The takeaway here is: Appreciate all bus drivers today and tell them you do. If you don’t do it today, save it for tomorrow…and make sure to say “happy ‘BELATED’ Bus Driver Appreciation Day,” because it IS TODAY. Never mind what “The Google” says!

Latest Local Central Maine News