Vernon school bus driver keeps smiles rolling

Maven Lane transportation manager Kevin Lane has been nominated as an educational hero for keeping the laughter and smiles rolling. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)Maven Lane transportation manager Kevin Lane has been nominated as an educational hero for keeping the laughter and smiles rolling. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Maven Lane transportation manager Kevin Lane has been nominated as an educational hero for keeping the laughter and smiles rolling. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)Maven Lane transportation manager Kevin Lane has been nominated as an educational hero for keeping the laughter and smiles rolling. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Maven Lane transportation manager Kevin Lane has been nominated as an educational hero for keeping the laughter and smiles rolling. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

It’s not always the teachers that have the biggest impact on kids in schools. Maven Lane’s transportation manager is proof of that.

Kevin Lane is well known by almost every kid as the fun-loving man who gets them safely to and from the centre with many laughs and smiles.

“I’m immature, so me and the kids get along really good,” said the 50-year-old father of two, who used to own Bagel Lane.

He never thought in a million years he would be a bus driver. But as a former sheriff, he’s used to transporting people. Only these ones are a lot nicer and fun.

“It’s such a positive atmosphere, the kids keep things real,” said Lane, who enjoys the constant giggles and chatter. “The noise is so positive.”

Despite his tall stature, towering over all the kids and most of the teachers, Lane is affectionately called Kevin the Minion, after dressing up as one of the little orange Despicable Me characters for Halloween one year.

He makes a point of smiling and chatting with kids on the daily outings and the many field trips planned for students aged three to five.

Maven Lane serves children three to 12 with pre-school as well as before and after school care.

“We started just with a service to help parents get them to school and pick them up from school,” said Lane, whose last name is a coincidence with Maven Lane. “With the cutbacks with school district bussing, we saw a need for the service.”

Lane’s own daughters attended Maven Lane, “back when they were little gaffers,” and both have since worked at the centre. His youngest, Makenna, 18, worked at Maven Lane last summer and is now finishing her post-secondary schooling. His oldest, Summer, 20, is now an educator at Maven Lane.

“I think I probably should’ve been a teacher,” said Lane, who loved raising his kids and was at home with them just as much as their mom.

Born and raised in Vernon, Lane loves the area and has even shared many special moments with the kids at Maven Lane.

Last August, he took 60 kids to his mom’s house on Okanagan Lake for their summer wrap-up party. On top of enjoying boating, fishing and paddle boarding, the kids were each treated to a Sea Doo ride courtesy of Lane.

“I like when they experience stuff that they’ve never experienced,” said Lane, who is also a triathlete and has taken part in Ironman 16 times.

A photo of Lane in the water with one of the little students next to the Sea Doo is pinned up at his desk, along with a giant poster of thanks made for Lane and the other drivers with personal remarks such as, ‘you make the wheels go round.’

Bree Cawley’s kids couldn’t agree more, as his name is most talked about when asked: ‘How was your day?’

“When thinking about educators who have made a difference and go ‘above and beyond’ in their work, we typically think of the teachers and principals who impact our children on a daily basis,” said Cawley. “However, for my family, the person who comes to mind is not an educator in the traditional sense, he is a bus driver. But not just any bus driver. He is ‘the best bus driver ever’ according to my five- and seven-year-old daughters.”

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