Bus drivers vs. bad stereotypes

Thomas McMahon
Posted on January 29, 2013

Are school bus drivers painted in a bad light in the media?

In TV shows, movies, books and the news, is there a tendency to emphasize the more unpleasant traits that some school bus drivers might portray on occasion?

Those questions came to mind recently when I was judging entries for Thomas Built Buses’ latest Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year essay contest (see story about the winners here).

Comments in a few of the essays pointed to a negative perception of school bus drivers that the children had developed based on what they had read or seen on screen. But, fortunately, the kids’ worries were put to rest when they actually rode the bus and had positive experiences with their drivers.

Take a look at these quotes from two of the essay writers:

• “I was nervous because of all the books I read that always had mean bus drivers, but De-De proved those books wrong.”

• “I expected to see the frowning face of the bus driver just like in all the movies I watched, but instead I saw a blithesome and cheerful face welcoming me on to the bus.”

Kudos to those drivers for combating the negative stereotypes.

As I’ve done with the past few Children’s Choice contests, I put together a collection of my favorite amusing, insightful and touching comments from the young writers. Enjoy:

• “I like the rules on how to be a good bus rider and don’t even mind when you give me a warning.”

• “She does not smoke among us nor shout at us at any time.”

• “She has a rule that says NO food on the bus. I can agree with that, because if you are eating a sucker it could choke you if the bus has to make a quick stop.”

• “He will watch you like a hawk and if he sees you doing something wrong he will help you get rid of your habit.”

• “In the mornings she plays a vocabulary game that if you win you get a piece of candy.”

• “I bet he has a lot of money.”

• “He doesn’t drive into the lake. He doesn’t drive into a tree. … He’s trained to drive so he can get me home safe.”

• “He practically fills every day in safely dropping off children … but he never happens to have bags under his eyes.”

• “Bullies are all around, even on the bus. One of those bullies was bullying me. I was afraid to go to school. But Mr. Dave stopped it as soon as it started.”

• “Peggy also helps to teach us about manners. I know a child who had very poor manners, then he rode Peggy’s bus and soon became very good at manners.”

• “If my bus driver weren’t here, we wouldn’t be getting on the bus. There would be no bus. I mean, a bus can’t drive itself.”

• “We get a little out of control at times, but he handles it very well.”

• “Phil knows about all of the medical issues that the kids on the bus have.”

• “I want to thank him for especially taking care of my grandma when my grandpa passed away.”

• “There have been days when I have wanted to give up, but Gregg gave me hope again.”

Thomas McMahon Executive Editor
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