“You just have to have a lot of patience,” said school bus driver Kevin Smith through a smile and a laugh.
It can be tedious, it can be monotonous, and it can definitely be early.
But for Kevin Smith, bus safety isn’t just what parents expect out of him. It’s his sworn duty.
“If we weren’t safe, we wouldn’t be doing our job properly,” Smith said.
“Safety is our number one goal,” said Brian Gibson, general manager of Durham School Services. “Being a safe bus driver, we’re always below the speed limit.”
The route takes Smith and his bus through main roads and winding neighborhoods.
Some kids are eagerly waiting.
Others…well…they’re not quite early risers.
“Usually the kids are real good and talkative,” Smith said. “The morning route not so much because, you know, they’re half asleep.”
“The bus driver is the first person to see a child in the morning,” Gibson said. “That’s what sets their day off right.”
He unloads his first rounds of kids off at Barwise and Old High — just as the sun begins to peak up over the horizon.
Smith spends about 4 hours a day behind the wheel of his bus. After dropping those kids off, he picks up yet another batch of kids, only these are going from one high school to another.
Once they’re dropped off at Hirschi, it’s time to cruise on back to the bus barn and relax — at least before Smith goes to his other job at a home health company.
“Once you park the bus, that’s done. That part is done, ” Smith said. “It’s just nice to mix up my day.”