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Robin Hamlin Has Been Driving Buses for More Than 30 Years

Robin+Hamlin+sits+behind+the+wheel+of+D4+outside+FHN+after+dropping+off+the+students+she+transports+to+and+from+FHN.
Robin Hamlin sits behind the wheel of D4 outside FHN after dropping off the students she transports to and from FHN.

Robin Hamlin sits behind the wheel of D4 outside FHN after dropping off the students she transports to and from FHN.

Photographer Michal Basford

Photographer Michal Basford

Robin Hamlin sits behind the wheel of D4 outside FHN after dropping off the students she transports to and from FHN.

By Michal Basford, Online Co-Editor-in-Chief

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For 32 years, Robin Hamlin has been driving buses. She’s done many things prior and since, continuing to wear many hats in her job as a bus driver.

“Driving a school bus is like being a babysitter, a teacher, a counselor, a mother or a friend,” Hamlin said. “We have to wear a lot of hats, and you [have] to know when to place them hats because all the time they don’t adjust to one kid or another. But you [have to] be firm, and I have to be cautious.”

A normal day begins around six in the morning and ends around five in the evening, with a few hours gap between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Hamlin made the decision to spend her time during that gap doing extra work or by chartering for things such as field trips. She drives for high school and elementary schools in FHSD.

“She actually talks to us,” sophomore Meagan Stillman said. “Not many bus drivers actually talk to the kids. They just sit there and drive. She actually makes conversation with us.”

It was in 2006 when Hamlin made the switch to work for FHSD. Prior to this, she drove for FZSD, Parkway, St. Louis city and Mayflower which became Atlantic Express. For a couple years, she worked at Lambert driving shuttle buses prior to 9/11.

“The best thing I could say is, I probably, if I wasn’t driving a school bus, I would go for being a cashier,” Robin said. “My license can take me anywhere, [so] I could be a truck driver. All I [would have] to do is go study for the A license to add to my license.”

But Hamlin wasn’t always a bus driver. Hamlin had been a security guard when she applied to work for a bus company. Her best friend worked with her and was the one to share with Hamlin that a bus company was hiring. Both decided to apply though they weren’t sure they would be hired. Her job as a security guard highly factored into her decision to apply. From there, she learned to drive buses after she was hired and started with learning to drive a stick shift.

“[Bus drivers should be] kind, understand what’s going on with the kids on the bus and sometimes acts like a mother to them [by] giving them advice,” senior Jacob Oleshchuk said.

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Robin Hamlin Has Been Driving Buses for More Than 30 Years