MIDWEST CITY, Okla. — Bus driver Paul Long has gone above and beyond transporting Mid-Del Schools students over the past eight years.
According to The Sun, he attends kindergarten graduations, goes to birthday parties and donates holiday gift bags to his riders.
Long began driving school buses for the district after retiring from the Midwest City Police Department and the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.
His initial acts of kindness toward the children he transports began during his first year on the job. The Sun reported that Long spoke to some students about their plans for Thanksgiving break and was surprised to hear that many of them didn’t celebrate the holiday because their families couldn’t provide a traditional dinner.
“I knew it would be the same thing come Christmas, and I wanted to make sure they had Christmas,” Long told The Sun.
With the support of friends and family, Long delivered food and gifts to 19 families that year and he continues to help students in need, telling The Sun that he feels the kids and their families are part of his extended family.
“They’re just like hauling my grandkids, you know. They’re really good kids,” Long added.
For his efforts, Long received the Oklahoma Association for Pupil Transportation’s School Bus Driver of the Year award on June 8.