LYTLE, Texas — Lytle ISD welcomed students back to class Monday morning. About 750 of them ride the bus to school.
One of the district’s beloved bus drivers is known to make the ride extra special.
Early Monday morning, the fleet rolls out. Eleven yellow school buses are back on the streets, ready to take Lytle Pirates to school.
You can spot Bus 31 by the skull sticker on the back.
“Pirate’s life for me,” chuckles the driver.
The bus logs about 30 miles every morning and delivers precious cargo. At the helm sits a Lytle legend with an impressive beard. “Instead of Mr. Bus Driver or something like that, it’s Mr. Cowboy,” said John Wright. “And it stuck.”
With an infectious laugh and caring attitude, it’s easy to see why Mr. Cowboy is a favorite in the community.
Every morning when the bus gets to the elementary school, there’s usually a couple minutes of downtime where the kids stay on board. To keep them from getting bored, Mr. Cowboy usually reads them a book.
He said showing interest in the kids starts their day the right way. “I call each of them by name when they get on and I usually bump fists with them,” he said. “If they’re not happy when they go to school, they’re not going to learn. So this just helps.”
With summer over, students are falling into a new routine.
“Every time I go to school, I ride this bus,” said 7th grader Casey.
She and her sister Kendal are excited that Mr. Cowboy will greet them with a smile every morning.
“He’s always funny,” Kendal said.
“I had three months off and I’m tired already, I need to come back to work,” Wright said.
He clocks in and clocks out, but Mr. Cowboy said his time on the bus doesn’t feel like a job. “It’s fun. If I stay home, my girlfriend will put me to work. So I have to get out of the house and do something,” he said.
Teachers, parents and the kids are all grateful Mr. Cowboy decided to invest in the safety of the next generation.
“You’re one of a kind, Big John,” said one of his coworkers.
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