Sidney Odums is no stranger to glowing reviews from his colleagues, but he doesn’t let compliments go to his head.
Odums, a bus driver for Pinellas County Schools in Largo, Fla., has been working for the district for 14 years. Prior to that, he was a shipping dispatcher for a lumber company for 35 years. While he had no experience with school buses or education at the time, he was familiar with driving large vehicles.
“I drove lots of trucks,” Odums says.
When his previous workplace closed down, he started searching for a new job. He came across a posting for drivers back in 2003, and he hasn’t looked back since.
“He comes to work every day with a positive attitude, ready to deliver precious cargo to their learning destination,” Tracy Bodenbender, a colleague, says. “Hands down, he is a role model for new drivers.”
Odums says his favourite thing about his job is the people he gets to interact with on a daily basis, whether it’s the students he drives or his co-workers at the compound.
“They make my job easier,” he says.
Odums has his schedule down to a T – he wakes up at 4:40 a.m., punches in at 5:30 a.m., has some down time till 9:36 a.m., has to be back at work by 12:40 and is done for the day by 5:23 p.m.
Odums says he plans on retiring soon – either this year or the end of the school year, but it’s still up for debate.
“Right now, I am enjoying what I’m doing. It’s a pleasure getting up every morning. My job is to make sure my students are safe to and from school,” he adds.
Outside of work, Odums is an active member of his church. He also keeps himself occupied with his growing family.
“I’m a father of two, and I am married. We have four grand kids – two boys and two girls. And I’m also a great-granddaddy to a girl and boy,” he says proudly.