Bus driver duo giving back to community


Empty nesters Betty and Ed Agosto were looking for something they could do together in their retirement years. They were looking for something meaningful, something where they could have a positive impact.

Driving into Fayetteville one day this past January the couple noticed a parked school bus with a sign, “Bus Drivers Needed,” stretched across the side. Neither had ever thought about becoming a school bus driver, but they felt compelled to contact the school system’s transportation department to learn more.

“After that, we went home and prayed a lot about it before making the commitment,” said Betty.

Ed retired two years ago from a company where he had worked for 30 years. He and Betty enjoy a good pension with great benefits. They were not necessarily looking for jobs, but after much soul searching, they believed becoming bus drivers was what they needed to do.

“We prayed in January, we were in training in February, and working as substitute bus drivers in March,” said Betty.

The Agostos, like all newly minted bus drivers, started working as substitute drivers, filling in when a route’s regular driver is out due to illness or an emergency. As veteran drivers retire, substitute drivers are offered the opportunity to move into a permanent position.

Learning to drive a school bus was challenging, but the Agostos credit their trainers, and the entire transportation staff, with giving them the resources, support and encouragement they needed to keep going, and get their licenses and certifications.

“We are working for the best group of people. We are pleased to have been offered bus driver positions, and see it as a privilege to be able to do this for the community,” said Ed.

The Agostos have three grown daughters, two of whom went to school in Fayette. Their children rode the school bus, but both admit they never thought about the person behind the wheel to whom they had placed the safety of their daughters.

“We just always entrusted our kids to the bus drivers. It is a huge amount of responsibility, driving a school bus. We thank all of the drivers who took care of our kids. We hope we can fill those shoes, and live up to the standards they have set,” said Betty.

Bus drivers are the first and last members of the educational team to see students each day. The Agostos say one of the first things they heard during training was that a school bus is an extension of the classroom, and now, they understand exactly why.

“When a kid comes through that door, you don’t know what happened that morning at home, or that afternoon at school. My goal is to make that connection with them, to make them smile. Just something that simple can turn a whole day around. And when they smile back at me, or say ‘thank you Mr. Bus Driver,’ that makes my day as well,” said Ed.