Sue Ridzon, who is a veteran school bus driver in Mansfield, speaks with Eyewitness News.
MANSFIELD, CT (WFSB) -
In about a month, the rumble of school buses will quiet with the conclusion of the school year. We recently asked you, our viewers, to help us nominate those special bus drivers who get your child to and from school safely every day.
That's how we were introduced to Sue Ridzon, a veteran school bus driver in Mansfield who, after 25 years, is retiring.
It's the end of the day for Elijah Wolf, but Ridzon has one more stop to make.
"I think Sue is a wonderful role model for our kids," parent Bethany Wolf said.
Bethany Wolf and her husband, Jonathan, said they were thrilled to learn Ridzon would be the one to drive Elijah to school for his first year taking the bus.
"He was very scared at first, but now he comes home and talks about Sue," Bethany Wolf said. "The first thing he does when he gets on the bus in the morning is he talks to Sue and tells her about his night. It's cute."
A stay-at-home mom, Ridzon applied to be a van driver with the bus company when her own children started decades ago.
"But when I came in they said 'no, it's for a big bus' and I was like 'no thanks, not interested,'" Ridzon said.
But with a little convincing, a bus company instructor got her behind the wheel that day.
"She said, c',mon, c'mon. We'll go for a ride.' and I thought she was going to take me for a ride," she said. "Oh no. She put me behind the wheel and out we went."
Now she not only drives her bus, but she teaches new drivers. Bailey Blanchard is Ridzon's supervisor.
Like so many of the students she's transported under all kinds of weather conditions, Elijah is a pretty big fan of hers.
"Yeah," he said. "She's a pretty good bus driver."
She has other fans, too. Including Wolf's principal.
"What I am really impressed with Sue is when there's a concert and the kids are singing the songs at school, she she's up at the concerts every single time. She's right there for any event that's happening with the kids," Goodwin Elementary School Principal Debbie Adamczyk said.
When you think about it, a school bus driver has a lot of responsibilities beyond driving. With up to 65 students onboard at a time, they're called on to be nurses, diplomats and psychologists.
"You listen to the kids' problems," Ridzon said. "They're crying. You have to figure out what's going on."
Mansfield Superintendent Fred Baruzzi said bus drivers have a lot of responsibility.
"They have their back to the children and are still expected to control them and arrive safely to school and get them back home," he said. "That's a lot of responsibility."
Now, 25 years later, Ridzon will be retiring from a job she fell in love with.
"This is my last year," she said. "I'm moving to Hawaii."
But what will she miss most?
The kids," she said. "I really enjoy the kids. I always have."
Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Sunday, August 31 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:28:29 GMT
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