HomePeopleConnecticut School Bus Driver Spreads Positivity By Wearing Various Hats

Connecticut School Bus Driver Spreads Positivity By Wearing Various Hats

Mike Eastland, a school bus driver working for Wilton Public Schools in Connecticut, has been widely recognized for the fun hats he wears every Friday while transporting students.

Eastland, 65, started as a school bus driver about 40 years ago. However, after getting married and starting a family, he switched jobs to work for package delivery company Carolina Courier.

He remained there for approximately seven years, then moved on to Federal Express and for 31 years until retiring.

However, Eastland said he knew he would eventually return to being a school bus driver, as driving buses and being involved with children remained one of his passions. Shortly after retirement, he started driving for Wilton Public Schools, contracted through Student Transportation of America, and has been a driver there for four years.

Eastland told School Transportation News his favorite part of the job is being with the students.

“It’s got to be the kids. If you don’t like kids. then you should not be driving a school bus,” he said.

He recalled a particular memory that stands out to him while driving a school bus.

“I was pulling into the school one day to drop off kindergarteners and one of them saw some birds on a wire. The child stopped before getting off the bus and turned to me saying, ‘Mike, why don’t the birds get electrocuted when they sit on the wire? Do they have rubber [on their ?’ I have never forgotten that.”

Each Friday, Eastland wears a different hat while driving, he refers to these days as “Friday Fun Day.” His hats range from an astronaut helmut to a shark, a pizza to a taco. During his interview for this article, Eastland was wearing a sombrero to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Mike Eastland wearing his pizza hat.

“I think I have a pretty good sense of humor,” said Eastland when asked what prompted the idea of wearing different hats to greet students at the end of each school week. “I had gone to a Jimmy Buffett show and part of his theme is shark fins, so I bought the shark hat, and I did not want it to be a one-time thing. So, one Friday I wore it on the bus. I started out [wearing it] just for the little kids, I didn’t wear it with anybody else but then I ultimately decided to wear it for everybody else.”

Eastland has been wearing hats every Friday for approximately three years now. However, he said he did not anticipate getting any recognition for it or for it to become a tradition like it has. The kids seem to enjoy it and happily await each Friday to see what their bus driver is wearing. Eastland’s hat collection has grown incredibly throughout the years and continues to grow.

Related: School Bus Driver Recognized for 50-Plus Years Behind the Wheel
Related: Ohio School Bus Driver Recognized Statewide for Leadership Qualities
Related: Connecticut School Bus Drivers Call Out, Leaving Student Without Transportation
Related: California School Bus Driver Recognized for Dedication to Job

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