On the School Bus with Miss Fannion

Diana Fannion, behind the wheel. i i

hide captionDiana Fannion has been driving her route in Campton, N.H., for nine years and has never had an accident.

Evie Stone, NPR
Diana Fannion, behind the wheel.

Diana Fannion has been driving her route in Campton, N.H., for nine years and has never had an accident.

Evie Stone, NPR
Diana Fannion stands next to her bus.

hide captionFannion, a former bank employee, says driving the bus is the perfect job for her because it allows her to spend more time with her children.

Evie Stone, NPR
School buses warm up before dawn. i i

hide captionSchool buses warm up before dawn.

Evie Stone, NPR
School buses warm up before dawn.

School buses warm up before dawn.

Evie Stone, NPR

About 25 million students ride a school bus every weekday, but parents often don't know the drivers who carry their children away and bring them home. In Campton, N.H., one such driver, Diana Fannion, takes pride in her skills, her safety record, and in being sometimes the only smiling face a child will see during the day.

Fannion has been on her run for nine years and knows every child's name, where they get picked up, and who's supposed to be waiting for them in the afternoon.

Her workday begins in the dark and cold. Fannion, does a walk-around safety check as the bus warms up in a transit lot.

The engine will soon be warm, but the windows inside can get icy. One time, Fannion spotted a boy whose tongue was stuck on the window's metal frame. Fannion freed the boy's tongue by pouring a bottle of water on it. The boy never did that again.

The bus is 35 feet long, weighs 15 tons and has seven mirrors. Fannion has never had an accident, but the route can be dangerous. Sometimes other vehicles ignore the bus' warning lights and don't stop.

Jimmy Rogers, a fifth-grader who rides the bus, says he thinks of Fannion as his mom sometimes.

"She talks to me if I have a problem or something," he says.

"One thing that always sticks with me is something I read in the school-bus manual, which was: As a bus driver, sometimes you are the only smiling face that a child will see in the morning or the afternoon," Fannion says. "So I try very hard to say, 'Good morning,' 'Have a good day,' 'Goodbye.' If I see a child is very upset, I'll go in and let the principal know and they may get the guidance counselor involved to make sure the child's all right."

Related NPR Stories

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: