The times that we are living in present each of us a unique opportunity to remember why we bleed yellow. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are searching for what’s next and are no longer living in the present. We can provide solace, kindness and generosity to each other right now. The past two months have been unnerving, and everywhere we look on mainstream media we see fear, unemployment and most of all the possibility of someone we love or care about becoming sick from the virus.
A good family friend and pastor in Tacoma, Washington, reminded me the other day that we need to remember our mission. Our method of delivery and how we interact with our staff, students, parents, families, and communities has changed temporarily. But what hasn’t changed is our mission. Each of us have different values, beliefs, faiths and priorities in our lives. The one thing we all have in common is the mission of deeply caring about children getting to and from school safely.
Our mission touches the lives of most every child and family in school districts around the U.S. and Canada. Our transportation professionals are out carrying forth the mission of delivering meals, homework, technology and supplies to those who desperately need them. Transportation staff are also assisting with the revised method of delivery of those items and still making that most valuable connection, the human one.
As we are looking together as an industry for the best methods of moving forward and getting back to work and school, our most valuable assets are our transportation professionals out there every day, who make the connections and carrying forth the mission of providing safe, reliable and caring transportation services. There are many ideas and recommendations surfacing that are pushing us to think outside the box. Keep in mind, some are realistic, others are not and data and recommendations are changing quickly as the situation evolves. Just roll with it and do your best.
What I can tell you is that we will all carry on the mission with a slightly different method of delivery. While this can all be stressful, please take a moment to reflect on why you bleed yellow and how you as a leader can bring a calm and successful approach to your school system or district. People need safety, reassurance, kindness and hope. The last time I checked, our yellow school buses and the great people that drive, repair, train, monitor, dispatch, route, and supervise operations are courageously capable of delivering those key components of our mission through the yellow bus.
We can’t control the method right, now but our mission has not changed, and that’s all we need to remember. Reach out to those in your network via email, a drive by, a kind note, or whatever method is permissible at the moment. Let people know you care and that you’ll be back just as soon as it’s safe. Bleeding yellow is a privilege, and during my 39 years around school buses I have seen our industry time and time again unite and take care of business. Be the leader to carry the mission through.
Take care of yourself and keep your perspective in line with what is important. Most of all, enjoy the time and people you are with right now.
Ryan Hahn is a former director of transportation and has nearly 20 years of experience in the school transportation industry, starting his career as a school bus driver. He is currently a consultant to transportation departments on routing, management and communications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.