By Melissa Moore-Randall
With Revere students finally back in school, full-time, Revere Public Schools (RPS) bus driver Cheryl Mei is happy to be back behind the wheel with a busload of students. After nearly a year of remote learning, RPS reopened for full in-person learning on August 25th, and Mei could not be happier. “I really enjoy seeing the kids getting back to sports, being outside and trying to live a normal life. I also enjoy seeing all the teachers see their students’ smiles every day,” she said.
Mei was born and raised in East Boston with her parents and her brother. “I had a great childhood and a lot of good memories attending neighborhood schools and East Boston High School, she said.” After high school, Mai attended Melrose Beauty Academy but decided hairdressing wasn’t her thing. “In 1976, I got the chance to learn to drive a bus at the airport. Then I worked for a bus company. I drove a shuttle bus around the City of Boston and to all the hotels in the airport. “It was a great job. I ended up getting my school bus endorsement and started driving a school bus. In 2005, I started working for Revere Public Schools and it has been a great 16 years.” When the pandemic hit and schools were shut down, Cheryl and many of her fellow bus drivers continued to work. “During the pandemic, we delivered meals to quarantined families and the elderly. We were also at the local parks handing out food. They kept us busy!”
Throughout her 16 years Cheryl has had many memorable moments. “I love the Thanksgiving games and all the sports. They are just fun and exciting. I love the camaraderie of the sports teams. I also love all of the teams and coaches. They’re always respectful. Sometimes the ride home can be very quiet with a loss, but a win is an exciting ride home. I do miss doing the field trips. They were a lot of fun. We haven’t done that in over a year. We’re also busy all day. We have our runs that change day-to-day usually, and try to keep a handle on maintaining the buses while the kids are in school.” Mei’s day can include morning runs, door to door SPED runs, wheelchair runs, midday runs, early childhood runs, high school runs, and after school runs with sports happening again.
Cheryl had a lot of praise for her colleagues. “The transportation department is all family. I am with them eight hours a day and spend more time with them than my family. We work together to get things done.”
The one constant for Mei is how fortunate she feels to be one of the district’s popular drivers. “I feel very lucky to have this job because it’s all about the children. I have watched so many of them grow from early childhood into high school students. Even though I have my senior moments they all remember me and remember my name and that’s the best feeling ever.”