McKinney ISD

 

#misdliveskind: MISD Bus Driver Encourages Kids with Weekly Notes

Article|
Shane Mauldin|
Thursday, September 12, 2019
McKinney ISD bus driver Ed Hagar wanted to make difference, so he began handing out a weekly note of encouragement to his high school riders.

McKinney ISD bus driver Ed Hagar wanted to make difference, so he began handing out a weekly note of encouragement to his high school riders.

McKinney, Texas – McKinney ISD bus driver Ed Hagar has been around the block a few times. But, even though he’s now retirement age, he still remembers that the teenage years can be tough.

“I made some pretty significant, life-directing decisions when I was a teenager,” Hagar says. “This was back in the ‘60s, and I lost friends to suicide, kids that I thought were on top of the world and had it all.”

With that in mind, he decided to try to do something to help encourage the high school students on his bus, to spread some kindness.

That’s how MISD mom Sarahbeth Holman came to receive a text and photo on the first Friday of the school year from her daughter Emma. It read, “My bus driver gave this to everyone. It’s so sweet.”

photo of hand holding note

The first in a series of encouraging “Notes from Lola” that MISD bus driver Ed Hagar hands out to his high school riders each Friday.

“As a parent, it was a great text to receive because I knew another adult took time out of their life to spread kindness, joy and to lift someone up, and I know Emma was happy to receive it,” says Holman.

Hagar calls them “Notes from Lola.”

Lola was a sweet-faced, tan and black puggle—a cross between a pug and a beagle—and she was Hagar’s dog for about 11 years. “I lost her about three months ago, and sometimes it’s hard to talk about it because I loved that little dog,” says Hagar.

Notes from Lola began several years ago when Hagar started sending cards to friends and family with words of encouragement from Lola.

“I just got such a positive response,” says Hagar. “And, I thought the kids on my bus might be a little more responsive to something kind of unusual like that as opposed to just me as their bus driver writing them a note.”

He doesn’t make it awkward or require his bus riders to take the notes. He simply holds them out for each student to take one if they want to as they exit the bus. “I hold it up. If they take it, fine. If they don’t, they don’t,” says Hagar.

About two-thirds of the kids usually take one.

The ones who do, seem to appreciate the gesture. “Last Friday, it was raining,” says Hagar, “and almost as soon as their feet hit the ground, they were opening the note up and standing there in the rain, reading it.”

Hagar knows that kids need encouragement, and it’s his simple way of trying to help.

“Some kids get on the bus and are smiling and happy,” he says. “But, some of them get on the bus, with their head down, and they look like they’ve lost their best friend. And, if I can help them to think more positively about themselves and perhaps see themselves in a different light, then I feel like I’ve made a contribution to their lives.”

And, even on those days when everything is going great, an attitude like that goes a long way.

“I was really baffled by the kindness Ed had to hand these out to all the kids on the bus,” says Emma. “It shows he really cares about us, and driving the bus isn’t just a job to him. It really can make an impact on someone’s life to do a small act of kindness.”

And, it’s probably safe to assume that Lola would be onboard with that.

Be sure to check out #misdliveskind on Twitter to discover all the ways that MISD students and staff are making kindness part of each day.

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