Chesterfield school bus driver honored for her dedication

Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 4:03 PM EST
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - Leslie Johnson knows her school bus like the back of her hand.

For fourteen years, she’s been driving kids to and from school in Chesterfield County.

Parents like Allison Krumpe, and so many others, absolutely love her.

“We feel so relieved that Ms. Johnson is our bus driver every day. She just takes care of our children as if they were her own,” says Krumpe.

When life took Johnson on a heartbreaking personal detour, it was the kids that kept her going.

She battled an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and beat it.

During that time, her students and their families were by her side every step of the way.

She would lean on them even more, this time around.

“My 21-year-old had some mental health issues and he was a type 1 diabetic and he passed away suddenly on October 9th....and we don’t know why yet, and waiting is the hardest part,” says Johnson.

Johnson says her son Jacob was an awesome young man who loved music and he was a phenomenal big brother to 10-year-old JP. Shortly after the funeral, she was back at work.

“I think she and her son JP are still hurting, and they will be for a very long time, but somehow she is managing to put a smile on her face for our children every day when she picks them up,” says Krumpe.

But grief can strike at any time.

“I did have one meltdown before my run to Tomahawk on Friday and a song came on that just triggered it,” said Johnson.

Once again, the kids were there.

They’re so compassionate, they kept saying, we’re here for you Ms. Johnson. One of them even gave me a hug on the way off. I don’t know I just love them, I love them,” says Johnson.

Parents and students came together to paint a massive rock outside of Betty Weaver Elementary, honoring her son Jacob.

As a school as a community, we see her, we see her pain, we know we can’t fix it or bring her son back but we are here emotionally to support her through this difficult time just as she has supported us for so long,” says Krumpe.

As a representative for all of the parents who love and support Leslie Johnson, Krumpe honored the bus driver with the NBC 12 Acts of kindness.

$300 dollars in cash and a $50 dollar gift card to Mexico Restaurant.

Being a cancer survivor, a working single mom and grieving the loss of her son hasn’t stopped Johnson from moving forward.

Sure, it’s enough for anyone to pump the brakes, but Johnson says she has a reason to keep her foot on the gas.

“I know that’s what Jacob would want.”

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