LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Bus drivers are in charge of the most precious cargo imaginable: children.
It could be an hour or two every day that our kids depend on those drivers, and there's a bus full of kids that looks forward to those journeys each school day, all because of the incredible woman who is behind the wheel.
"She's the nicest bus driver I've ever had," said Elise Nelson, a fifth-grader at Tully Elementary School.
Fellow fifth-grader Quinn Shean had his own analysis.
"She knows all of our names, and usually bus drivers don't know people's names," he said.
Her name is Jeanetta Carr, but the kids call her Miss J.
"If I can bring a little bit of happiness to celebrate who they are, I just feel it's a mission to do so," she said.
Miss J brings some of that happiness on every birthday for the students who ride her bus. She does it with presents, like the one she recently gave Elise.
"It was my birthday on Friday, and she got me a birthday present," Elise said. "It's called a glitter dream planner."
For fellow student Quinn, it was a book he had wanted for a long time. His mother, Jen Shean, was stunned by Miss J's generosity.
"When I opened it up — this hardback book that she got him — and it had this beautiful inscription in it and beautiful and writing and a card — and the wrapping that it came in — I was just blown away," Shean said. "It was just so above and beyond what I would expected any bus driver to do."
Miss J said she always makes sure that she gives the kids something that cultivates their minds. It has to be something to read, write or build.
But to Miss J, it's not above and beyond. It's just a joy to be part of the lives of those who ride her bus.
"I love working with kids!" she said. "Who knew? I didn't know that I would enjoy it as much. I didn't come from this. My background is food service. I love the transition, and I hope to do it for years to come."
Miss J has a birthday in the summer when school's not in session. So some parents decided to give her a birthday cake recently when the kids boarded the bus at Tully. They sang "Happy Birthday" to Miss J as she held back tears.
But it's all smiles when the kids greet her going to and from school. Miss J said the secret is building personal relationships with each child, talking to the students and not at them.
"She's the best bus driver in the world in my opinion," Elise said.
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