(NewsNation) — School districts across America continue to face a school bus driver shortage as the new school year begins. But one Florida man decided he would do what he could to recruit new drivers as well as spread messages of positivity and bus safety.
Escambia County Public Schools bus driver and 2010 Pine Forest High School alumnus Cor`Darius Jones was in between jobs after his grandmother died in 2018. While driving around to clear his head, he saw a sign advertising a bus driver job.
Jones said his grandmother’s passing put him in a dark place, and driving around was one way he coped with the loss.
“You know, I kind of use just driving around to, you know, get myself together. And I saw a sign that says now hiring school bus drivers,” Jones said.
After seeing the sign twice, he told himself if he saw the sign one more time, he’d apply for the position. One sign later, Jones applied and found himself “stuck and loving it ever since.” Now, he is widely known as Mr. Bus Driver.
Jones said that with COVID-19, his bus district experienced a bus driver shortage, which doubled routes for the drivers still driving. He explained that people are hesitant to drive buses because of kids, not driving a bus.
“I tell them it’s what you make it and I’m the example for that, you know, all of my students love me. They hate to go home because they don’t want to get off the bus,” Jones said.
Jones encourages kindness and fun on his bus. He decorated his bus to catch people’s attention, encouraging other drivers to make it their own. Jones explained that it invites kids onto the bus and reassures them that a bus is also a place for learning.
Jones shares videos on social media platforms where he helps prepare parents for the upcoming school year, shares bus safety tips and influences others to make a difference in kids’ lives.