Saturday, December 5, 2009


I don't know what it is about this time of the year but I always am reminded of my bus driver when I was in school, George.

George was a gruff old man. He had a deep voice, was big, and drove a bus. I couldn't help but be intimated by George. But one day George didn't drive the bus that came to pick me up it was Sally, and then a man who transported his goats on his bus (we were all sure of this because the bus ALWAYS stunk like goats and goat poop). But back to George...he would always wait that extra minute for me to come running down the driveway when I was running late, he would smile while my mom forced me to have my first day of school picture taken buy his bright yellow bus, he was really a great man. I can't for the life of me remember his last name, he was just always George.

Every year at Christmas time he would cheerfully hand out brown paper sacks filled with his own little mini-version of a fruit basket. 1 apple, 1 orange, a nut, those yummy Christmas tree nougaty/minty taffy like things, a Christmas pencil and a mini-candy cane. At the time I remember thinking that it had to be the lamest of Christmas gifts I was going to get. I would rush into the house and eat up the candy, maybe use the pencil and then toss the fruit into my mom's fruit. But now that I am a bus driver and always contemplate what to give my bus kids, I am more appreciative of that sweet gesture. If you figure there were probably 40-50 kids on our bus and the cost and time that had to go into making those gifts, he went way above and beyond what some of the other drivers do.

Two years ago I gave out dollar bills to all my kids with a candy cane attached. When you figure that I have about 40 kids on my bus it's tough to squeeze out that extra $40 at Christmas time. But it was all made worth wile with one phone call. I had just one parent call and tell me that her son was so excited to get that dollar. He knew that he could go to the store and spend it however he wanted. On whatever he wanted. Unfortunately he lost that dollar and his mom had to give up one of her's but I was glad to know that I had made, if even just one, kid's day.

I always debate on giving out the money, and last year we just couldn't swing it. This year we can. I know a dollar doesn't buy much anymore, and the high schoolers probably think I'm lame but I enjoy seeing the smile and cheer on the younger kid's faces when they get that envelope knowing that there is money inside.

So this Christmas remember that it's the little things in life. The extra "Have a good weekend, Johnny" or the simple "How was your day, Suzy?" that means the world to some of these kids. Sadly enough some of the just don't get it at home.

Have a great holiday season, and a very Merry Christmas.


Staci said...

Very well said!!! Great post!

Apple said...

I don't remember a bus driver ever giving us anything at Christmas. Of course we didn't give them anything either. I was floored the first time I received a gift from a student.

I struggle with what to give out too. I have over 100 assigned between the two routes and about 90 regulars. Some years I find something great at the dollar store, other years, like this one, I settle for candy bars.

Your dollar idea is very nice and I hope at least some of them understand just how nice.

Edith said...

That is a good idea...I really struggle with Christmas gifts. A couple of years I've given pencils and candy...but the older ones only use mechanical pencils now so I just don't know.

Have a blessed day.

Tracy Farr said...

That was a super-wonderful post! I never thought about giving my riders something for Christmas -- but I will from now on! Thanks!