FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. - A retired couple in Fayette County is giving back to the community, in an unexpected way, by becoming bus drivers. They wanted to spend the next phase of their lives together, doing something meaningful.
After raising three children, this sweet Fayette County couple crossed paths with a yellow school bus in a county desperate for drivers. Now, they're not only helping to fill the gap, they're also helping to lighten the stressful load for these students.
Empty nesters Ed and Betty Agosto were enjoying retired life, when all of a sudden, a drive into Fayetteville one day changed their plans.
"We happened to see a big bus on the side of the road with a banner on it saying, 'Drivers Needed,'" shares Betty. "We just looked at each other and said okay, we're going to go home and pray about this and here we are."
"I like kids. So for me, this was just perfect," adds Ed.
They trained together, earned their commercial driver's licenses and now they're some of the newest bus drivers in Fayette County. "We never even thought about our bus drivers taking care of our kids, getting them to school and home safely. We thought it was just small way maybe of giving back what we felt had been given to us. We take our bus drivers for granted," says Betty.
Betty and Ed believe this is their chance to reach out to the kids, as one of the first faces they see each morning, and one of the last each afternoon. "Well some kids don't like going to school, so if we can make it easier for them to go to school maybe they will learn something," explains Ed.
"The kids have their good days and bad days, just like adults but in the end, it's all about getting them to school and to home safely and making sure they have a good day before they get to the classroom," Betty states.
Ed's goal is to make them smile. "I just kind of tease them a little bit, not tease them, but kind of build them up by saying things like 'What did you learn today? Did you learn anything?' and of course, just a one-on-one with them. As they're coming off the bus, if they smile...that's great," exclaims Ed.
"We just try to be that face that hopefully can make a difference in their day in a positive way somehow," adds Betty.
Their hard work and dedication is quickly catching on. Dawn Wiley, the Fayette County Driver Trainer says, "They have the best attitude, they have been so wonderful coming in here, they're supportive of everybody around here."
Especially in a district still fighting that bus driver shortage. "The whole nation is running low on drivers and we definitely are," Dawn says.
Both Betty and Ed say they had no idea that drive into town would lead them to this driver's seat, but they're sure glad it did. "So far, it's been great, I've enjoyed it. I've got some of the best kids out there. #415 is the best bus out there," Ed laughs.
Ed and Betty say they still get to spend time together. They meet up for lunch and trade funny stories. They say the hours are great and they will get to spend holidays and summers off with their three grandbabies. If you're interested in getting the training to drive a school bus, reach out to your local school district, chances are, they're hiring.