I've heard many pupil transporters use the motto "It's all about the kids," and I never doubt that they mean it.

Indeed, this industry is full of people who truly care about children and find enjoyment and fulfillment in working with them.

I'm reminded of that each time I serve as a judge for the Children's Choice School Bus Driver of the Year essay contest, which Thomas Built Buses holds annually.

The young writers don't hold back their feelings, so these essays provide a clear picture of how much school bus drivers mean to their passengers — and how dedicated the drivers are to the kids' well-being.

As I did after the previous edition of the Children's Choice contest, I put together a collection of amusing and moving comments from the kids' essays. Enjoy:

● "Although people can't be perfect, Mrs. Jennifer comes the closest!"

● "Sometimes kids just call her 'bus driver,' but she responds no matter what you call her."

● "Sometimes we do the emergency evackeywayshon."

● "Has your parent ever told you why you have a bus driver? It is because your parent does not have time to drive you to school."

● "Sometimes, she gives us a goody bag when we're getting off at our bus stops for no apparent reason besides loving us. I think that she does this to reward us for our good behavior, but I would be good for her regardless of any treats."

● "If our bus driver was in school, he would have perfect attendance! He never missed a day to pick or drop us off."

● "He is the best bus driver because he helped me stop crying on the bus. I told him I was sad because I got a '2' in my conduct and I didn't want to tell my daddy. [My driver] told me that I am a good girl and that I should always tell the truth."

● "She teaches us to say ma'am and sir when speaking with adults."

● "She made it so fun, my brother was a car rider and wanted to ride the bus so bad Mom let him, and he never wanted to car ride again. It kind of hurt Mother's feelings at first."

● "My older brother had open heart surgery and Mom said she let him ride the bus because [our driver] was someone she trusted would call her and would know what to do if something happened."

● "My bus driver is also a lunch cashier at my school. One day she gave a dollar to a kid that has trouble in school to buy ice cream because he was doing so good in school now."

● "Last year when I was being bullied, Mr. Eddie helped me by moving me to a different seat. He also reported them to the office."

● "When we get on the bus, he always gives every kid a high five and a hello. That is a lot of kids!"

● "My mom was really worried about me riding the bus when I started 2nd grade, but once she met Chester, she wasn't worried anymore."

If those quotes don't tug at your heartstrings or at least make you smile, you might be in the wrong line of work.