Friday, January 27, 2012

End of the road.

Today was a day of cold winds and rain that seemed to fit my mood since this was the final day that I would be behind the wheel of Bus #79.After wonderful years being involved with student transportation I am hanging up the keys and relinquishing the steering wheel and as far as the emotions are concerned, it is easier said than done. As this chapter came to a close so many memories were going through my mind as each student departed from the bus. Not that I wouldn't see them again for surely our paths would cross inside the school, but I felt like I was losing something as I knew I would probably not see them in this environment again.

I have traveled many miles during my tenure as a school bus driver and am blessed to have been given the opportunity to share and learn through the experience. I have seen an amazing world across the dashboard and through the windshield of a Hinsdale Central School bus. Some memories have not been fond. We have witnessed accidents, people driving through the red lights, unhappy motorists who have been inconvenienced by the disruption of their commute, and aggressive drivers who have put lives in jeopardy. We have also witnessed cherished moments such as beautiful sunrises, amazing wildlife, and even the dangerous wintry roads have a placid form of beauty in them. No matter the view, the day, or the conditions though, there was always Laura and her smile. Today Laura provided both a remembrance of what will be missed and a reminder of how to live.

I first began to pick up Laura as she entered kindergarten three years ago. Unlike many young students about to begin their new journey with fear and trepidation, Laura would board and disembark the bus quite differently. When boarding she would reach the top of the stepwell and look right at me and smile. Upon leaving the bus she would stop in the driveway and turn to smile and wave. It did not matter the time of year or weather conditions, nor did it matter if her seat was taken or if we were in a spare bus, Laura would always begin and end the day the same way, with a smile.

As I sat behind the wheel and watched her wave and smile good-bye I couldn’t help but think of how different the world would be if everyone were to practice such a simple grace in their daily lives. I was challenged by the fact that we often think we are good, but are we nice? Be nice to others. Share a smile with someone today, not because we ought to, but because you want to.