NEW YORK — In a recent ABC News series, Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts recalled her first job in 1978-79 as a school bus driver during her high school senior year. In the segment, Roberts said that her experience helped her gain some of the confidence she needs for her anchor job today. SBF spoke with Roberts to further her tale.
“This was back in the day,” Roberts said. “I was on the tennis team, and it was tough to get bus drivers for spring sports. My tennis coach asked if I would go through the summer course and learn how to drive so that I could drive us to our matches my senior year.”
At 18, Roberts was just old enough to take the driving course offered by Pass Christian High School, named after its home city in Mississippi. The course taught Roberts how to navigate the orange cones and how to ensure safety.
“That was the one thing — I realized that I had to be responsible,” Roberts said. “And I remember immediately the first thing in class was, ‘OK. You’re not a student here. You’re a bus driver, and you have to act accordingly.’”
After certification, Roberts decided to transport her tennis team and do the necessary school routes. It was hard to be a driver and a student at the same time, she said in the segment.
But Roberts realized the seriousness of her duties, even if it was her first job. A school bus driver is an extension of the school and is the first and last face a student sees when they go to school, she said. “[The piece] was just trying to bring some recognition to some professionals that are often overlooked,” Roberts said. “Everyone remembers their school bus driver, how it brings back fond memories.”
Roberts decided to hang up her keys after she graduated in May 1979, but she never forgot her former job’s importance. Parents can place their precious children in a qualified professional’s care, because school bus drivers have a remarkable safety record considering the millions they transport, she said.
“And it’s to the credit of the qualified professionals behind the wheel; we take our job seriously. There’s a certain pride that you sense from school bus drivers. I think that’s universal, and I think that’s timeless, whether it was 25 years ago when I was driving, or the drivers you have out on the roads today.”