LEANDER, Texas — For Lolette Hollabaugh, driving school buses has been a lifesaver — literally. Hollabaugh joined Leander Independent School District in 1995 as a bus driver and became a driver trainer about six years later.
“I really enjoy being around children so becoming a school bus driver was a perfect job,” Hollabaugh said. “They are delightful — witty and so smart. Their honesty is charming and they make me laugh every day. I appreciate and love all of my kids.”
It was recalling her humorous experiences transporting students that helped Hollabaugh beat cancer.
Last August, Hollabaugh underwent surgery and afterward she was informed that she was cancer-free. During a follow-up visit, however, she learned that a pathologist found cancer.
“I was not prepared for that,” Hollabaugh said. “I was shocked and the days following were very difficult. I couldn’t sleep because I was so scared.”
Not wanting to worry her family, and realizing she had to do something to occupy herself while she underwent treatment, Hollabaugh decided to write a book of short stories based on her years as a school bus driver and donate a portion of the proceeds to the American Cancer Society.
“The very next day, I started typing on my computer with my cat on my lap and my dogs at my feet. That was the beginning of my healing because I wasn’t focusing on myself, I was thinking about what I could do to help others,” she said.
Hilarious Adventures of a School Bus Driver is broken into categories. One section contains stories about things that have happened to Hollabaugh on the road, while the other three categories include stories about elementary, middle and high school students.
The book’s lighthearted tone becomes evident when Hollabaugh describes one of its stories. “I [transport] a delightful kindergartener and she was always very cheerful every morning,” Hollabaugh explained, “but one morning she came on the bus and her head was down and she looked sad, so I asked what was wrong. She said, ‘Ms. H., I think I slept too fast.’”
Hollabaugh returned to work last year a few weeks after the cancer treatment was complete. She said keeping busy was instrumental in contributing to her recovery.
Her book was published in April, and she has been amazed at the response from children. “I wrote this book for anyone, but what I’ve found is that children love it,” she said. “I think it’s because it’s short and funny. That was a nice surprise.”
For more information about Hilarious Adventures of a School Bus Driver, or to purchase a copy, visit www.hilariousadventures.com.