After serving in the FBI for more than 20 years, you’d think an agent would want to retire beachside with a fancy cocktail for all their days. However, Michael Mason saw another calling – and he pounced on it no questions asked. With 23 years in the FBI under his belt – falling fourth in command of the Bureau, no less – Mason went to work as a school bus driver.
Much of the country saw bus driver shortages following the pandemic. When students didn’t return to school for an entire year, bus drivers were forced to find other jobs. Now, with school back in session, districts nationwide are struggling to bus students to school.
The situation is no different in Chesterfield County, Virginia. Mason was enjoying his retirement when he saw a plea for help on the local news. The county was asking that anyone who was able think about becoming a school bus driver. It wasn’t long before the former FBI boss was ready to step in.
Trading Badge for a Bus
“I’ve done some important things, but guess what? This is important, too,’ he says, according to the Daily Mail via CBS 6 News.
Mason went on to explain:
‘When the pandemic struck there were so many people that were doing so many extra things. People like you who still have to get out here. People like grocery store workers. People like telecommunications workers. All kinds of folks who still had to do their job. And I felt like I can be doing something to help in this post-pandemic recovery.”
The school district in Virginia loved that Mason was so willing to come to work for them, they featured him in a promotional video. Their hope is his efforts will inspire others to get involved and help out.
While it’s not interrogating national crime bosses or running a high-profile serial murder investigation, the work is useful – and desperately needed. Mason hopes it will also encourage people to come work for the school.
‘Doing whatever they can do. I believe if all of us gave a little something,’ he told the channel. ‘Wow, how we could impact the world. How we could change the world.
School Bus Driver Shortage Impacts Nation
A school bus shortage was definitely the trend heading into the 2021 school year. Districts all over the country pleaded for help. Between budget cutbacks and just generally losing transportation employees due to lack of work, students are now paying the price. Driver shortages mean fewer routes. It also means parents have to come up with other ways to get their kids to school.
In light of this, many districts are offering monetary incentives in order to attract people to the profession.
Additionally, finding people who will actually complete the month-long training is another story.
It takes a good month to get somebody trained,” noted the executive director of the Michigan Association for Pupil Transportation, Dave Meeuwsen.
Meeuwsen said the hiring process plays a role in the shortage.
“It’s not like I can put out an ad for a bus driver today and put you to work tomorrow,” he explained.