Unsung Hero: Special Bus Driver Edition

A few hours ago, I posted this week’s Unsung Heroes story. Kudos to the traffic agents, who put up with all kinds of weather (and all kinds of drivers) to make sure our kids (and teachers) arrive at school safe and sound.

I just found out about another person who makes school special. Like the traffic cops, he’s not a Board of Education employee. But he’s as important as any educator.

Mario Viola drives bus routes for Coleytown and Saugatuck Elementary Schools. He truly goes “the extra mile.”

Grateful parent Lisa Newman says, “He tirelessly loves and cares for our children. He decorates his bus for holidays, shows up for their concerts, and keeps everyone excited for school.”

One day, Lisa’s son had an as-yet-undiscovered fever. He arrived home wearing Mario’s hat. The driver had given it to him to make him feel better. (“It worked!” she says).

Mario Viola, and Lisa Newman’s son.

School ended yesterday. But today, the kids on his routes enjoyed one last day with Mario.

He invited them all to Carvel for ice cream — and treated every one!

Mario Viola and his happy kids, at Carvel today.

Thanks, Mario Viola, for doing so many little things, for so long, for so many. Long after these youngsters forget most of what went on this year, they will remember your kindness, and you.

(Hat tip: Heather Sinclair)

9 responses to “Unsung Hero: Special Bus Driver Edition

  1. Jennifer Rosenwald

    I love this story — how amazing, a man so invested and passionate and giving as Mario! And thank you SO much, Dan, for these Unsung Heros posts, I drink them in (especially in today’s tough, sharpened-elbows climate), so happy to see them in my Inbox. Yays, all around….

  2. Paige Scherer

    Mario is a special guy and an amazing bus driver. We all rest easier knowing he is the one transporting our kids in the morning and after school and we are so lucky and grateful that he does it with such love and care. We will miss you this summer, Mario!

  3. Cristina Negrin

    Love that story! Long ago when my now 40 year old son was in kindergarten, there was a big snow storm and early closing. We lived on a hill the bus would never make it. I put on my boots and coat and headed out to see through the storm where my kid was. Large black bus driver holding my tiny kid’s hand walking up the hill to our house. I cry every time I think about it

  4. Jean Denholtz

    What a great story!!! For sure a hero and role model for the children that he so lovingly transports! As a retired teacher, his caring and generosity is deeply appreciated by both parents and teachers. Thanks for the tribute to a person who is deserving of this recognition!❤️🐩❤️

  5. Mary Cookman Schmerker

    Wonderful true story of devotion and love. I am almost 79 and I still remember my elementary school bus driver, Mr. Brown. Mr. Viola you are a hero and you will be remembered with love. I promise you.

  6. Denise Torve

    Like the earlier story of our traffic agents, this one made me happy with that warm and fuzzy feeling that is in short supply these days. Thank you to all the heroes – sung and unsung – who ensure that our young folks and their parents are so well looked after. And thank you to Dan for these positive, charming tales that make us smile.

  7. Mario is my cousin and I will say completely unbiased, he is a people person, great with kids and will go without so that others can have!!! Love my cousin like a brother and to see him get recognized for just doing something he enjoys, makes me happy that people do acknowledge the good in this world when there is so much negativity!
    Kudos to you Mario, you’ve always been a great person!