The Daily Bus Route
She is rarely thought of and seldom seen by parents, yet she fulfills one of the most important links in the chain of your child’s education.
Meet Deborah Bond, school bus driver for 20 years.
“Each day, you have to successfully manage all the children on board, and there’s about 60 to 70. And of course, you have to watch traffic to assure everybody arrives—and on time,” she said. “We are professionals. There is no such thing as ‘just a bus driver.’ We are responsible for these children.”
Her alarm clock goes off at 4:30 a.m., and each day, regardless of rain, snow or sunshine, if school is open, Bond will be clocking in by 6:30. Her route will take her all over Edmond, yet she never forgets her favorite aspect her job.
“I have a lot of favorite things, but my most favorite would have to be the children. I see them everyday. I can get to know them well, and I know when they are happy or sad,” she said. “One thing I love to do is tell them good morning, or when they are getting off in the afternoon, I make sure and tell them to have a good day.”
But no matter the number of years you spend in the profession, Bond says there is one thing that is hard to get used to.
“The noise,” she said. “While it doesn’t bother me that much anymore, I always tell people to come along for a ride in order to get a good appreciation for how loud it can get on a school bus.”
Over the years, Bond has seen fashion trends come and go, along with the evolution from Walkmans to iPods. However, at the end of May, when this school year concludes, Bond will begin a new chapter in her life. “I am retiring, and you know what I’m going to do a lot of? Nothing,” she said jokingly.
Bond and her husband plan to move to the quieter side of life in the small town of Athens, Texas. Once there, her retirement plans consist of picking up hobbies from years past, including oil painting, horseback riding and little theatre participation.
“These are things that I did once upon a time and just have not had any time to do them for years. I won’t miss the early mornings. It will be nice to slow down and enjoy the things in life that I once did,” she said.
As for the issue of loud middle-schoolers on the bus, students assume all is fine until Bond pulls the bus off the road and turns on the flashing lights. This is when you know that things have gone too far.
“Fortunately I have only had to do this a couple of times in my career,” said Bond,” but each time they knew I meant business. We do have rules on the bus and they are there for safety.”
We should make certain not to take Bond and the many other school bus drivers around town for granted. They provide an important service to the community and to your child. She spends a good deal of her free time training new bus drivers, always reminding them, “You have to love the children and driving a bus to do this.”