Bus driver loves ‘her babies’

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 15, 2001

With an excited grin, Youlanda Davis can quickly rattle off why she loves her job.

&uot;They’re my babies,&uot;&160;said the bus driver for AJFC Community Action Agency’s head start program. &uot;I get hugs and kisses when they get off (the bus).

Davis has driven a bus for Thompson School head start on North Union Street for the past five years. She also works at the school as a teacher’s assistance. From the children who quietly obey at the promise of receiving a candy treat to the children who break down into tears on the way to school, Davis loves them all.

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&uot;I feel like a lot of kids might not (get) love or attention at home,&uot; Davis said, adding that she tries to feel that void in their lives.

&uot;You just got to baby them up and love them,&uot; she said.

She views her job as a bus driver as an important one.

With the help of an assistant bus driver, Betty Morgan and a bus monitor, Angel White, Davis drivers her bright yellow bus to pick up about 45 three and four-year-olds.

&uot;If you can drive a truck or a van or anything it’s the same,&uot;&160;Davis said about her occupation. &uot;The only difference is you have lives on the bus – children’s lives on the bus.&uot;

Starting at 7 a.m. every Monday through Friday, Davis and her assistants begin picking up the children in the areas of Lagrange, Homochitto Street, Cedarhurst, Williams Apartments, Brumfield Apartments and Melrose every Monday through Friday.

Because driving with children can be dangerous, Davis makes it a priority to keep her bus, No. 76, in top condition.

&uot;If any little thing goes wrong I take it to the mechanic,&uot; she said.

This is necessary to make sure the children are safe while she transports them all over Natchez-Adams County, she said.

&uot;I really treasure these children’s lives more (than my own),&uot; Davis said &uot;I really do.&uot;

Davis said she plans to continue her work with head start as long as possible and she knows she has found her niche working with this particular age group.

&uot;I’d rather work (with) the babies any day over the big children,&uot; she said.

The Dart is a weekly feature in which a reporter throws a dart at a map and finds a story where it lands.