Plainview man becomes school bus driver after 41 years in different career

(ABC 6 NEWS) – Wednesday is National School Bus Driver Appreciation Day, and schools across the country have seen a shortage of drivers, but one Plainview man decided to step up and help out.

Cary Miller worked at Land O’Lakes in Pine Island for 41 years. When he retired, he was looking for something to do and that’s how his career in school bus driving got started.

"I did many different jobs there my last one was a warehouse job where I got a CDL license and drove some semi," Bluff Country School Bus Service School Bus Driver, Cary Miller said.

When Miller retired, he wasn’t sure what his next step would be.

"Got a call from a friend of mine that said I would be a good bus driver and I said yeah I’m looking for something to do," Miller said.

So he tried it out, got his license, and started his route in September throughout Plainview, Millville, and Elgin.

"Mornings are usually better than the afternoons as far as the kids they are little more calm in the morning they are trying to wake and after a long day of being pent up at school they come off and they are jumping around and happy," Miller said.

Being a school bus driver is different than the job he held for 41 years.

"I was always inside no contact with very many people you know it was probably the same 10-12 people a day where now I get 60 kids on the bus and they all have different personalities," Miller said.

But he says this job has been rewarding to do.

"You can change or help change or just do things to make a student’s life better," Miller said.

Miller said he tries to make the kids smile whenever they are having a bad day, not only worrying about their safety but the impact he leaves with them.

While many schools are still dealing with a driver shortage, Miller encourages others to do the same if they are needing something to do or a new job.

"If you like kids and enjoy being a part of somebody’s life even your grandkids you might even have your grandkids on the bus, if you enjoy that it’s a good field to go into," Miller said.

Speaking of Miller’s grandkids, his granddaughter who is in 1st grade said she wants to be a bus driver just like her grandpa when she grows up.

As for how long Miller will drive for the school district, he said he doesn’t know but is enjoying his time along the way.