I’ve been employed with Virginia Beach City Public Schools for seven years but I’ve been driving buses for 10 years. I’m what they call an unassigned sub driver, so I’m all over the place. I drive for special education and academies, too. I’m on my bus at 4:45 a.m., do the pre-trip, and ready to go by 5:00 a.m., so when anyone in dispatch says, “Hey, I need you to go cover a run,” I’m on it. I like seeing the kids’ smiling faces that I see when I get to the bus stop that there actually is a bus to pick them up.
I’m also a behind-the-wheel instructor for the training department here in transportation. It looks like driving a bus may be challenging to the general public, but once you get inside the bus and start the training they say, “Oh, this is easier than driving my car.” I like teaching them everything they need to know from pre-trip, inside the bus, underneath the bus, and then actually going out to do their DMV test. When they call me and say, “Hey! I passed!” It makes me feel great.
Driving a school bus is fun. It has its challenges but, at the end of the day, it’s rewarding knowing that you have kids on your bus who look up to you and respect you and that a familiar face is there every day and is somebody they can trust.
I’m told you shine your bus?
Yes, I shine my bus. I wax it. The floors are clean, rims and all. I always keep a clean bus. When people see me going down the road they say, “There’s Derreck.” It’s not required. It’s just the pride in that we are a moving advertisement.
What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Spending time with the family, especially since my wife is expecting now. It’s my second child. My son will be 8 at the end of March. His sister is due July 28.