In Chesterfield County, Virginia, Michael Mason is doing his best to help with America’s shortage of school bus drivers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mason spent 23 years with the FBI and served as the executive assistant director of its Criminal Division. Now, he contributes to his community as a school bus driver in the Richmond area, CBS reports.
“About half of the FBI fell under me,” Mason told WTVR. “And I was, just for context, I was fourth on the FBI’s food chain.”
A National Association for Pupil Transportation survey claims that over half of the school districts in the U.S. are experiencing bus driver shortages that have affected families across the country. Mason sprung into action after watching a morning edition of CBS 6 News, hearing that his county needed school bus drivers.
“When the pandemic struck there were so many people that were doing so many extra things. People like you who still have to get out here,” Mason told WTVR.
“People like grocery store workers. People like telecommunications workers. All kinds of folks who still had to do their job,” he added. “And I felt like I can be doing something to help in this post-pandemic recovery.”
The shortage of bus drivers has impacted countless families nationwide. One single mother in Baltimore told CBS News’ Errol Barnett she is forced to call a Lyft three to four times a week just to get her kids to school. In Massachusetts, National Guard personnel were deployed to drive buses. Pennsylvania is now considering doing the same.
Mason holds his job as a school bus driver in high regard and hopes that he can inspire others to serve in their community.
“I believe if all of us gave a little something, wow, how we could impact this world. How we could change this world,” he told WTVR. “I’ve done some important things, but guess what? This is important, too.”