Beloved Chesterfield school bus driver taught students kindness

Posted at 7:33 AM, Aug 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-08 08:15:11-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Some people will tell you the success of schools begins and ends with bus drivers. They are usually the first and last school employees to interact with students each day. But there is a school bus driver in Chesterfield County who is leaving a lasting impression with children -- after seeing them for the last time.

Chesterfield school bus driver "Mr. John" is retiring and moving to Lynchburg to be closer to his daughter.

On this last day, he remembered the day -- six years ago -- when he first thought about becoming a school bus driver.

"My wife said, 'You're never gonna be able to do this,'" he recalled.

But he did.

Dozens of students who rode Mr. John's bus, and their moms, recently took time out of their summer break and pool time to say goodbye.

What stood out that day was his ability to recall each student by name as he made the rounds and shook each child’s hand or gave them a hug.

You can see he made a connection.

"We would have conversations," he said. "No personal conversations, but talk to them like you and I are talking right now. That's all they needed."

John, a retired military man, became a bus driver after he realize he had time on his hands and thought about what he could do to help kids in his community.

"Maybe I'll apply the same message to these children that I do my grandchildren," he said. "Kindness, consideration, understanding and listening."

It worked.

Don't take our word for it, just listen to the moms -- like Heather Rumbaugh.

"I just don't know what we'll do without him. Makes me sad to think," she said. "My son has one more year in elementary school and I'm like 'Uh, can't you do one more year?' One more year please."

A humble man, Mr. John will tell you it wasn't him who safely drove kids to and from school.

"Jesus did everything.  He was doing everything.  I was just sitting in the seat," he said.

Building Better Minds with Rob Cardwell airs every Wednesday at 6 a.m. on CBS 6.