It is often said that the work of a school bus driver can be underappreciated. But when a driver makes a meaningful difference in the life of a child, the appreciation from parents and families can be abundant.
This was the case for Scott Reynolds, a school bus driver for the Fairport Central School District in New York for the last 35 years. Reynolds had been the driver for a special needs student named Ty for several years. When Reynolds recently retired, Ty’s parents wrote a letter to express their gratitude for the impact he made in Ty’s life.
“There will never be another Scott for us. He is irreplaceable! He has a special place in our hearts forever – especially with Ty – and we are so very grateful that we have gotten the chance to know him,” the letter reads.
According to Peter Lawrence, the district’s transportation director, the family read the letter to Scott at a luncheon held recently in his honor. Lawrence added that Reynolds was a full-time substitute driver for 27 out of the 35 years that he worked at Fairport, and described him as “very dependable.”
“As we know being a substitute driver is the toughest job in the business, and he did a great job for our district,” he said.
“Not just a bus driver. Those are the words that come to mind when I think of Scott.
How can we explain that Scott has been so much more than “just a bus driver” to Ty? If I could ONLY show you a picture of how Ty’s face “lights up” when we open the garage and he sees Scott open the doors of the bus every morning. How he has a little extra “spring” in his step when Scott says “good morning Ty” or “what got into you today”? How he changes from not really wanting to go to school, to smiling as Scott gives him the usual “fist bump” as Ty boards the bus.
Ty has known Scott for many years. I think Scott can “read him” as well as we can at times. He cheers him up, gets his day started positively every day, and ends it with a smile. He is like another dad, or at least a big brother to Ty. Ty has a great sense for people he can trust. Scott earned that with Ty from Day 1, and that trust continues to this day. We are very sad because Ty really doesn’t understand that he will not see Scott again – at least not every day. He’s been a constant in Ty’s life, which most people don’t understand how very important that is to a family, until you have a child with not only a disability, but one that communicates mainly through nonverbal expressions - which didn’t intimidate Scott in the least when he met Ty.
It is not always the people with a big title or position of influence that make a difference in the lives of kids with disabilities. It is often those that provide direct care for them and spend time with them every day that make the biggest difference. Scott has been one of those people that care. Really care. I am so impressed by people like Scott. We obviously have a very personal reason to care for kids like Ty – he is ours. But people like Scott are extraordinary in our eyes – they care even though it is not their personal “mission”.
It goes without saying that we are going to miss Scott a lot. I know we will get another great driver. And we will have Bob riding shotgun still. But there will never be another Scott for us...he is irreplaceable! He has a special place in our hearts forever – especially with Ty – and we are so very grateful that we have gotten the chance to know him.
In today’s world, we all take a lot for granted. Today we recognize a great man for making a difference in the lives of people every single day, simply with the kindness of his heart.
So we wish Scott the best in his retirement. We will let him go – begrudgingly – to enjoy life to the fullest after all his years of hard work. May the sun shine and dry out the roads wherever those roads may take him. And may the weather allow him to wear shorts 365 days a year – wherever he goes!
Here’s to Scott – not just another bus driver.
With much love and friendship … Ty and the Coppola family.
Lawrence reported that Reynolds is currently a AAA driving instructor and is looking forward to using retirement to relax and help care for his aging parents.