… from the bungalow

Priscilla, Queen of the Short Bus

26 Comments

Of all of the people who have a hand in your kid’s life, you sometimes find the greatest heroes in the unlikeliest places. I’ve had issues with some of the people who play the most influential roles in my son’s life, the ones I thought should have been the most trustworthy and caring. Sometimes the most caring, inspiring influences in a child’s life are the ones who appear to be the outliers. These people are heroes to me.

Higglytown Heroes PosterWhen my boys were toddlers and I was a SAHD, I loved the Playhouse Disney show “Higglytown Heroes.” (Russian Doll-type folks. You know ’em, right?) It heavily appeals to my longing for community and connectedness. The show gets at this very notion; everyday people–neighbors, friends, community workers–doing things for others, things they do well that the rest of us benefit from. They take their individual talents and make the most of them. In an episode called “Catch up with Ketchup,” the show highlighted a bus driver hero, voiced by Stuart Pankin.

Even though she’ll probably never see this, I want to share my gratitude for Priscilla. (Great name, right?) Priscilla drives a school bus. Technically, it’s a ServiCar bus. The school district we live in does not have buses, but they hire ServiCar to transport the kids with special needs to and from school, which I so appreciate.

So why is Priscilla my everyday hero? Well, she probably has to get up before dawn to go to work, she drives a “short bus” full of differently-abled kids every day, and dang it if she doesn’t have the biggest smile you’ve ever seen. Every. Day. She’s always got something nice to say. She always makes my grumpy morning butt smile. She gives Finn a high five, invites him to pick out a book for the ride, and drives away with a smile, on to make the next family’s day a little brighter.

And, man, isn’t that what makes life great? It is to me. A smile, a connection, a partner in making Finn’s world a more comfortable, welcoming place to navigate. When I talk about seeing magic in the world, this is what I’m talking about. These are the places I find God.

I have no idea who Priscilla really is; what joys she’s shared, what heartaches she’s suffered, who she’s loved or who she’s lost. What I do know is that whatever experiences she’s had, they’ve made her a beautiful person. Strike that; that’s too passive. Whatever experiences she’s had, she has decided to be a beautiful person.

And here’s the thing: We’re all connected. What one person does for another affects their attitudes and behaviors (including the original person–it feeds the source), which affects the attitudes and behaviors of others still, and so on. Therefore, what one person does for another, s/he does for humanity.

Finn & Priscilla

Priscilla, Queen of the Short Bus w/ Finn

So I thank you, Priscilla, Queen of the Short Bus, for your contributions to humanity. Thank you… Thank you…

Appreciating from the bungalow,

Chris

P.S. Expressing gratitude fills me up! Who have you thanked today?

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Author: Chris

A dad with a self-evaluation complex. Also a music therapist, college enrollment administrator, and hippie-nerd.

26 thoughts on “Priscilla, Queen of the Short Bus

  1. That’s great. I want to find a rewarding job like Priscilla. I am sure she would really appreciate reading what you have written about her and how she has effected your life and Finn’s. It’s nice to know that you are appreciated. I appreciate you Chris and Karin. You guys always make me laugh when I need too!

    • Thanks, Claire! Karin’s going to ask to get a picture of her so I can include it in the post. If I do, I’ll share this with her. 🙂

  2. This might be my favorite post of yours so far. Thanks for this. You’re my person today because I came into work like a man possessed and this made me happy. DKL/JDM

    • Thank you, DKL! I appreciate it. So glad I could bring a smile to your face. Been meaning to catch up on your blog. I will soon, promise.

  3. Please get a picture of her and Finn for us! I don’t know her, but I love her for her goodness to Finn. His bus drivers, here were really great, too. And I would think bus driving kids would me a miserable job!

  4. No luck with the picture today. She wasn’t driving. Boo. 😦

  5. Way to make me cry! This is a beautiful truth you’ve managed to make even more beautiful with your words.

    I remember I got heartbreaking news sometime back in college. I sat down and cried. Someone walked by, stopped, and said, “Hey, is there anything I can help you with?” I don’t remember what the news was, but I remember my gratitude for that stranger taking the time to stop and ask. I try to do the same when I see someone struggling now.

    Sometimes, a truly felt smile from a stranger is all it takes to turn the blues into brilliance for me.

  6. I just shared this, I love this post. We can all change lives, everyday. It reminds me of when my Dad was rushed to the emergency room. All the drs. and nurses were nice enough, but rushed, a little cold and very clinical. The one person who made the biggest difference was the young woman who took my Dad’s billing and insurance information. A kind smile, a reassuring gesture and a genuiine concern made a difference. It made me step back and realize you do not have to be in a “noble” profession to impact people in a positive way. Thank you for putting a smile on my mug this morning 🙂

    • You’re so welcome, Sam! Thanks for reading and commenting and sharing. 😀 On a related note, the way I understand it, doctors are much more likely to be sued for malpractice when they demonstrate poor bedside manner, whereas a doctor could really goof up, but if he smiles a lot and has a caring demeanor, probably won’t get sued. You’re also more likely to be picked out of a crowd if you’re not smiling because the brain perceives a potential threat. So many reasons to smile!

  7. I totally LOVED Higglytown Heroes. My favorite part was the one girl who always came up with way far out ideas on how to solve the problem….lol.

    • Twinkle. She would always say weird stuff like, We could send monkeys into space to catch stars, then we could put the stars in some chicken noodle soup and all the firemen would be so happy from eating star soup that they’d blah blah blah…

      To me, the best part was how Fran the squirrel would pick out one little detail out of all the ridiculousness to point out the flaw in her thinking. I’d always think, “yeah, that’s why it wouldn’t work…”

      Aw, pickles!

  8. I loved Higglytown Heroes, CJ had such a blast laughing at Twinkle’s silly ideas. Too fun!
    My everyday hero will never leave my memory. I walked past him every day when I went on a mail run from my office to the mail room. I was having a horrible time, hadn’t showered in a couple days, and sluffing up to the mail room. It was a misty April morning and there he was holding his stop/slow sign. Then he said three words that I will never forget.
    “S’up, sweet pea?”
    Every time I feel down I think of “Sweet Pea”

  9. She looks like a kind woman (and your son looks like a lively child).

    A genuinely kind person is such a treasure. I still have fond memories of my seventh-grade social studies teacher and how wonderful her simple, authentic care and warmth made me feel.

  10. “These are the places I find God.” What a beautiful notion. You made me misty. :’- )

  11. I knew that I got the inspiration somewhere… I couldn’t for the life of me remember the guy that wrote about The Higglytown Heroes. Hopefully I come across a lot of everyday heroes to write about. Keep up the good work!

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  13. Thank you for re-posting. As my kids grew older I started subbing in their schools. Somehow I wound up as the regular sub in special-ed which led to being the teachers-aid full-time. I had to quit for personal family reasons but I so very much miss the kids. I witnessed every day what you speak of here. I also witnessed the other side that wasn’t always so nice. Not anything that would be considered abuse, but just that goals could have been accomplished with more kindness. It’s ironic that the the ones that you would think would have the least amount of impact often had the most. Kindness & patience can accomplish so much.

    “These are the places I find God.” I believe that people are way too caught up in the details of “finding God.” It’s very simple. What God wants from us is for us to be kind to each other.

    • Kindness & patience can accomplish so much.

      I totally agree, which is why I try to write these things down when I feel them, and surround myself with kind, inspirational people.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. More importantly, thanks for making a difference in our world. 🙂

  14. Everyday heroes are my favorite kind. what a lovely post. I hope maybe you found a way to show her, as I’m sure it would mean so much to her. Print it out maybe?

    • I wrote down the URL for her once but I’m guessing she’s not super computer savvy. Generational thing. Printing it out isn’t a bad idea. Thanks, Kitty! 😉

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