October 19th – 23rd, 2020 is school bus safety week in Ontario and this year, we are celebrating our drivers for making safety a priority! This year, during a pandemic, safety is more important than ever and our 18,000 drivers across Ontario are doing so well following all health protocols to keep everyone safe. School Bus Ontario (SBO) has asked operators to nominate drivers who they feel should be recognized for their hard work and dedication. Their stories are below!
Sharp Bus Lines, Windsor
Sharp Bus Lines in Windosr writes: “I would like to recognize Shirley Dufour. She has been with us for 35 years and is always on the job. She is safety oriented and kind- hearted. She wears her heart on her sleeve and it shows in her daily driving. She is a very dedicated employee and never takes time off.”
Sharp also writes: “I would also like to recognize Rick Dalton. He had a situation last year where a parent didn’t show up to pick up their child on a special needs unit. He had to return the child to the school. When he got to the school there was no staff present. The office phoned different numbers repeatedly to try and get in contact with someone. We had to call the police to come meet the bus. The mother finally arrived 2 hours later at the school. The driver had to sit with the student and did his best to keep the student as calm as possible. The driver kept his composure through the whole ordeal.”
Bell Transportation, Parry Sound/Dunchurch
Bell Transportation writes: “We have an amazing group of people. For all but one to return in September and 90% are over 65 years old and in the COVID-19 danger demographic is remarkable.
When 70% are over 70 years of age and came back, that is simply astounding. Without that dedication from the WHOLE staff, I would not be able to provide full service at the least, or might not be in business at all at the worst. They are ALL – brave, loyal front line heroes and I am in awe of each and every one of them and could not appreciate them more!”
Sharp Bus Lines, Hamilton
Ebrahim Kochdi Meraji
Ebrahim continually pushes himself to do as much as he can for the children, his family, which includes his first child this year, and Sharp Bus Lines. He is reliable providing constant timings for the children allowing them to not have to worry about not finding a ride to school during a uncertain time in the world. Even though English is not his first language, he interacts with each child daily. This has made multiple parents call in on their own accord to compliment and praise is patience, great attitude, and the reliability he provides.
Kyle truly loves his job, and he really does love making a difference in a child’s life. Kyle coaches youth baseball, and dresses up as Santa during Christmas for the kids on his bus. He has a big, caring heart.
Stock Transportation, Kingston
Stock Transportation in Kingston recognizes 3 outstanding, long term drivers. Florine Irwin, Joy Godfrey and Debbie Lobb have all been driving in the Kingston/Napanee area for over 30 years with Stock. These 3 ladies are always dependable and reliable. You could set your watch by their punctuality! All 3 have outstanding safety records that serve as an example to other drivers. They have seen generations ride their buses and make a point of learning names and forming positive relationships with all of their riders. We are truly blessed to have Florine, Joy and Debbie on our team in Kingston. Congratulations Florine, Joy and Debbie!
Sharp Bus Lines, Midland/Penetanguishene
Cindy is always looking for an adventure, and in the school bus world the last minute changes keep her on her toes. In the first five weeks of this school year, she drove six different routes in multiple divisions of the company with a moments notice and a smile on her face. Her passion for helping people is demonstrated all the time when offering help to other drivers on the two-way radio and outside of the bus such as contacting retirement homes and Sharp to offer to do grocery shopping for the vulnerable seniors or fellow drivers at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cindy goes above and beyond, prioritizing student safety and customer service!
Whitteker Bus Lines, Iroquois
Marian has been with Whitteker Bus Lines for 10 years. She is great with the students, school staff, parents and co-workers. She consistently follows the rules, keeps her bus in order and always goes above and beyond. As a senior driver, she helps to guide our newly trained drivers and provide advice from her many years of experience. Marian is also a certified member of our Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee and performs monthly workplace inspections.
Karen has been with us for 18 years. Karen is always positive and happy, willing to accept changes at the drop of a hat. Her bus is always neat and her students happy.
She is a credit to Whitteker Bus Lines! Congratulations Karen!
Elgie Bus Lines
Larry has been a solid fixture at Elgie Bus Lines in London for 7 years.Larry’s classic line “Keep Smil’n” is just who he is! He is a caring professional driver. In September, a parent remarked:
“I am very impressed with our new driver! He’s the ONLY driver who has ever stopped at the stop and asked for my Senior Kindergarten kid by name and ensured he could point at his pick up parent (me)! He let him and his siblings off first. What an awesome Driver-thank you for going above and beyond to ensure my kids are safe! He should be thanked-Gold Star!!!!!”
Murphy Bus Lines
Wayne’s career as a bus driver with Murphy Bus Lines has spanned over four decades! In 1979 Wayne obtained his licence as a way to supplement his income and meet people in his community. Although many things have changed in the bussing industry during his career the most important and significant item that has remained constant is safety of the passengers.
Safety is something that Wayne takes seriously. Wayne has maintained an accident free driving record for 40 years, which is an amazing achievement for any driver. He participates every year in Bus Evacuation at the school, as well as, assisting with the First Ride program offered to incoming Junior Kindergarten students.
Wayne is always friendly and courteous and has the ability to manage his students with respect and fairness. Each student is greeted with a friendly smile and a “good morning” greeting. The school staff has commented that even during these unprecedented times they know Wayne is smiling underneath his mask! Fourty years of driving has given Wayne the ability to mentor other drivers. He is very sociable and well-liked by his fellow drivers, parents and management. He is a loyal employee with very high personal standards.
One of Wayne’s most memorable highlights of his driving career has been having the privilege of driving three generations of a family.
Thank you Wayne for your continued dedication in safely transporting children to and from school each and every day!
First Student, Mississauga
First Student in Mississauga is recognizing all of its drivers because of the challenging times we are in. They ‘ve done it without question and have embraced the use of PPE, doing deep cleans/disinfecting.
Thanks to thier drivers for being so great!
Reem is patient with students and fellow drivers, she is always willing to help out without question and assist in any way possible. Reem answers the call when needed at any time and always makes safety her first priority.
Trudi travels to any branch that puts out a call for spare drivers. She drives various sizes of vehicles without hesitation and lends a hand to fellow drivers or office staff when ever she can.
Trudi truly goes above and beyond for the students she transports and her co-workers.
Sue has always been flexible when asked to help out, she will mentor and advise new drivers using her experience from her many years of driving.
Sue is committed to keeping all of her co-workers safe during such challenging times, making sure everyone is upholding protocol when visiting the branch.