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10 Country: Faye’s history bus

^ Faye Sumner ^ Faye Sumner
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January 28, 2003

Tift County-- The yellow school bus we see can become more than a way of getting young people to school. It can become a rolling history bus.

Faye Sumner operates a precious pick-up and delivery service, for years rolling out long before some people roll out of bed. “This is 31,” Faye said as she drove the bus in the dark of morning.

For 31 years driving the same school bus route that becomes a trip down memory lane. “I have to go a piece before I start picking up,” says Faye.

In the dark, turning on roads hard to see, roads she knows intimately for more than three decades. “Good morning!” She picks up Chris Smith first, when years ago, she picked up his mother and uncle. “They told me to be very nice and follow directions,” said Chris.

She drives on all paved roads, twisting and turning the full size school bus number 005 effortlessly in rural Tift County for 36 miles, one-way, always looking for her young riders, and seeing old ones.

Former rider Sabrina Williams waits with her twin girls for Faye’s bus to arrive, and it brings back memories. “I think it’s sort of neat,” says Sabrina. When driving so long a driver can get a reputation. “She don’t put up with no nonsense,” said Ronald Smith.

She sees how we have changed. Over the years, she drove so many students they had to literally stand in the aisle. But, today, she drives only about 40. Another change. “You really want me to tell you?” Sumner asked. She sees many young people make a disappointing turn in life. “Kids back when I started driving, they had respect for adults. And, children now days, they don’t. I’m sorry to say,” said Sumner.

Ironically, her school life didn’t include a school bus at all. “I walked to school, never rode a bus.” Now, she has driven one for 31 years, “I enjoy it.”

She has seen how children have changed, as she opens the door for yet another generation of young people to step into the world.

Faye Sumner seldom has to turn in a child for discipline because, she says, the young people know she expects them to behave.

posted at 9:00 AM by dave.miller@walb.com