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Meet the school bus driver who views his job as a mission

CURTIS JENKINS
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One happy passenger shares that "he's the father I always wanted."

When parents send their kids off to school in the morning, it’s often with a little prayer that they’ll get there in one piece and have a great day. But some moms and dads in Dallas, Texas, can be sure that their little ones are starting and ending the day in safe and loving hands.

A recent On the Road story by Steve Hartman for CBS News introduced an elementary school bus driver who goes above and beyond. Curtis Jenkins “goes way beyond the outline responsibilities and duties of a bus driver. I mean, that bus is like a family,” explains the principal of Lake Highlands Elementary, Dallas, Emily Gruninger.

In fact, for Jenkins, his job is about creating a community where everybody takes responsibility for creating a loving environment. He gives children roles such as “police officers,” or “administrative assistant to the president,” to give them a notion of responsibility. The end result is a bus load of kids feeling loved and important to their community.

Jenkins’ enthusiasm for these youngsters is obvious when you look at his beaming smile when he talks of them: “These are my children. These are my community. I love ’em all.” Indeed he does, not just through giving them thoughtful gifts on special occasions — paid for out of his own pocket — but taking the time to know his special passengers.

For 5th grader Ethan Ingle — whose parents divorced when he was four — it’s this level of attention that led him to share how he considers Curtis “the father that I always wanted. In some ways, I wish my dad could have been like that.”

You might ask what Curtis gets in return for all of his efforts. It’s not exactly a financially rewarding job, but he shares how his paycheck is seeing these children happy. He’s a truly inspirational man who demonstrates the importance each one of us can have in the lives of others just where we are, if we take the time to truly care.

You can watch the full CBS video of Jenkins and his passengers below:

 

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