You don’t have to be in the school bus industry long before you’ll hear the term “bleed yellow.” Examples:

• “Patti has a passion for pupil transportation. She bleeds yellow.”
• “I used to bleed red before I starting working with school buses, but now I bleed yellow.”

To anyone who isn’t familiar with our industry, hearing about someone bleeding yellow may be cause for alarm. But for those in the know, the term is like a declaration of one’s commitment to the school transportation cause.

Of course, it’s easy to say that you bleed yellow, but how can you be sure that you fit the bill?

If bleeding yellow were a medical condition, how would a doctor diagnose you with it? What would be the signs and symptoms?

With tongue partially in cheek, here’s our attempt to list some of the common characteristics of the “bleeding yellow” condition — which, by the way, may be contagious.

1. You call the passengers on your buses “precious cargo” — even when their behavior isn’t so precious.
2. Whenever you see a school bus on the road, you turn your head to see what type of bus it is and which district or contractor it belongs to.
3. Better (or worse) yet, you can identify the make and model of a school bus from a long distance.
4. You have a collection of school bus memorabilia in your office, and possibly even at home.
5. You read magazines about school buses (wink, wink).
6. Your “vacations” are trips to pupil transportation conferences and trade shows.
7. You constantly seek out professional education and certification opportunities (thanks to NAPT’s Mike Martin for identifying this indicator).
8. You’ve worked your way up through the ranks to the transportation director position, but you still drive a bus whenever you get a chance.
9. You wear yellow clothing much more often than the general public.
10. At least one of your ties has school buses on it.
11. You use unwieldy acronyms like FMVSS and MFSAB in casual conversation.
12. Wherever you go, you find yourself talking to people about how school buses are the safest way for students to get to and from school.
13. Your job is demanding, you work long hours and some days feel like barely controlled chaos — but you love it.
14. You could have gone into a more financially lucrative line of work, but safely transporting students proved to be a more rewarding calling.

If you have one or more of the signs and symptoms listed above, don’t be concerned. Please keep doing what you’re doing.

You are making a difference in the lives of students. You are helping to protect them and to give them access to an education.

We need people who bleed yellow.