My children have a new bus driver this year. I’ve honestly never spent a great deal of time thinking about the person who transports my kids to and from school every day until this woman crossed our path. You’re about to find out why.
One day last week, Tracy pulled up to the stop and as the last child clamored up the steps, the door didn’t close right away.
A little perplexed, the parents glanced up at her as she idled the bus, wondering silently what was up. In response, she waved to us with a big smile and said “I’m just going to wait here a minute for Michael.* I’m a little ahead of schedule today and I don’t want him to miss the bus because of it.”
I looked around in utter astonishment at the other parents. She knew that someone was missing? She was going to wait for him? And she knew his name?
(Note: we have more than 10 kids at this bus stop each morning plus siblings and parents and a fleet of scooters, bikes, and skateboards. It’s not like there are only two kids to keep track of. It’s loosely controlled chaos down there.)
Everyone seemed to be as astonished as I was.
It appeared that not only had Tracy learned the names of the children on her route, but also that she was looking at her job differently than any bus driver I’d ever encountered before.
See, Tracy doesn’t see her job as driving a giant yellow vehicle along a set route each morning as efficiently as possible, stopping at predetermined spots to let on whomever is standing there, keeping the passengers quiet en route, and then returning to the bus garage without any new dents in the fenders.
Nope. She sees her job as getting this specific group of children safely to the place they need to be to build their future, and to do so with smiles on their little faces.
I think she may also grasp the power she holds to influence the mood and demeanor of the parents of those same children by extending a little grace when we’re running just a teensy bit behind. (Not that I’ve ever been the one watching the bus pull away as my littles and I raced down the street. Nope. Don’t know a thing about how that can wreck a morning.)
Waiting an extra minute or two at our stop wasn’t going to make or break Tracy’s day, but it was going to ensure Michael (and his mom) had a brighter morning. She stayed squarely focused on her real job in that moment.
So my question for you is simple.
If you’re not sure, then ask yourself if you’re more focused on what you get done each day or on the people you serve. That’s the key. It’s all too easy to get focused on efficiency and process and getting things done…and to completely miss your chance to make an impact.
Tracy didn’t take a job as a bus driver so she could drive a bus. She took it because of the children she could serve. That couldn’t be more clear.
*not his actual name