FOREST, Va. – A Bedford County man has spent most of his life driving a school bus, but has now handed over his keys.
James Bryant Sr. said he has driven almost every route in Bedford County. He started working for the county in 1959.
He is the longest working bus driver in all of Virginia.
"I just went on and on and on driving the school bus, didn't think about it much at the time but it was a job, it feed my family," Bryant said.
Bryant said he has driven most of the people in his family to school on the bus, including his wife.
His number one rule was making sure everyone was on time, even his own kids.
“I came through here and I didn’t see the kids at the driveway, they were just coming out the door and I kept going, I left them, twice I said, ‘If y’all not at the bus stop I’m not stopping,‘” Bryant said.
Bryant says he learned a couple of lessons from the children he drove along the way.
"I earned their respect and they earned mine, and that's how you get along with people you treat people with respect," Bryant said.
A few years back, Bryant was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer.
But it hasn't slowed him down.
"Sometimes when I get home early enough from the treatments, I go on up to the farm with my son and very seldom get tired," Bryant said.
Bryant says he will miss the children of Bedford County greatly but is excited to spent some time with his own.
“I’m living on God’s time and driving the bus has been a good life for me,” Bryant said.
Bryant’s family will be hosting a parade to celebrate his accomplishments after the Bedford County Public Schools graduation Saturday, June 27.