Because I drive a bus

Because I drive a bus, I’ve received a few, “Oh, I’m so sorry” looks and even a few comments suggesting I might be wasting my talents. I have a few choice words for those people, but let’s keep this family friendly.  I’ll take a different route. (See what I did there?)

A little backstory

Why would someone think I’m not where I need to be? Well, I earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University of Georgia. After graduation, I worked in Economic Development and Community Relations for a couple of Chambers of Commerce. Once I moved back home, I used my degree to work in television production for a few years. Finally, I decided that I wanted to work for myself, so I started my own company specializing in customized software training for small to medium businesses.  All-in-all, I had a good experience in the professional world up to that point, but I needed something more.

The next chapter

No, that’s not when I started driving the bus.  Somewhere in that backstory, I became a mom to two wonderful boys. My older one, who was four at the time, decided he wanted to try karate. He did, and he loved it. It was a six week program at the Parks and Recreation Department, so when that class finished, we looked for a more permanent studio. That’s when we found The Dojo.

After he had been taking classes for a while, and then I started classes, the owner asked me if I’d like to work for him for a few days during the week.  Why not? Let’s give it a shot.

Enter the bus

So, why do I love driving the bus? It’s not because of the legroom or the amazing absence of air conditioning. It’s because of these adorable, wild, crazy, insane, precious children.  Every day during the school year, I have the

Dojo bus selfie
Bus Selfie – Parked of course!

privilege to pick up these children from their schools and take them back to the Dojo. My job is to get them safely from their school to the Dojo. When they get there, they are part of our After School Karate [ASK] program.

They’ll chill for a few minutes, change into their karate uniforms, and then take a karate class. For me, and the rest of us on staff at the Dojo, it’s so much more than that. These kids become our kids. We see most of them every day and get to know all about them. We know their laughs and what makes them sad. Sometimes we get to see them at their silliest, and other times they just need us to comfort them and give them a giant hug.


At times, I have to admit, it can get a little crazy, and we wonder about these kids.  Just like we do with our own kids.  But, we always get back to the basics of the day – we love these kids. I couldn’t imagine my life without these crazy adorable kids in it. Yes, we teach them karate, and we hope they learn something more along the way. I definitely know that I have learned from them.

Best job in the world…

In my adult life, I have worked with Super Bowl champions, Heisman Trophy winners, national champions, and broadcasting legends. I’ve coordinated business expos, set up tours for Consuls General and Ambassadors, and worked with Fortune 500 CEOs to relocate their company headquarters. On top of that, I’ve even debated the tax code and other policy decicisons with a Governor and a Vice Presidential candidate.

There are so many jobs available to someone with my skills, talents, and abilities, but would I take any of them over what I do now?  Not a chance.  Because I drive a bus.

3 comments to “Because I drive a bus”

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  1. Pankaj Singh - December 1, 2016 Reply

    Ms. Stephani
    A great story. You are doing what your heart is asking you to do and best part is that you are enjoying it. For us it’s is a privilege to have you take care of our kids.

    Thank you for that.

  2. Rajini Britto - December 1, 2016 Reply

    Remarkable Ms. Stephani! Thank You! In your story you mentioned “These kids become our kids”, this is why we chose DOJO. We are so thankful to have such wonderful staff!!

  3. Cindy Huber - December 2, 2016 Reply

    And you are the best. The whole staff at the Dojo is our extended family and we love you all. So glad my kids and now my husband are back. Both of my kids enjoyed ASK while growing up.

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