Some folks fear the number 13, but for Marilyn Maynard it is perfection. Over the past 13 years, she has not missed a day driving her school bus for All-Star Transportation.
“It never occurred to me not to work. I credit that to my upbringing,” she says. “If you don’t work, you don’t eat. I have always had that attitude.
“Plus,” she says with a smile, “I don’t like others driving my bus.”
Maynard has been driving for All-Star for 18 years, beginning in Torrington with Laidlaw, which All-Star acquired in 2004. She now drives bus 26 out of the Burlington terminal, serving Region 10 schools in Harwinton and Burlington.
Maynard is a native of St. Kitts, a popular vacation destination in the Caribbean. She acquired permanent residency status in the U.S. in 1993 through her father, a citizen of the U.S Virgin Islands, and emigrated to the U.S. with her son in 1998. Maynard relocated to Torrington in 1999, along with her mother and one sibling, and in 2004 she became a U.S. citizen.
She laughs when asked why she would leave an island paradise for the U.S., saying that people ask her that question again and again.
“I like the different temperatures throughout the year, and there are better job opportunities here,” she says.
One of her earliest recollections upon arriving in Connecticut was learning to drive on the right side of the road. In St. Kitts, vehicles travel on the left side of the road. She learned to drive the American way by practicing on East Main Street in Torrington, a multi-lane highway that climbs a steep hill and is lined with businesses and houses.
“It was intimidating,” she recalls.
Maynard’s first job in Torrington was working at a CVS pharmacy, adding that she had never thought of becoming a school bus driver. But she saw job ads for drivers in Torrington and decided to give it a shot. Now, she can’t imagine doing anything else.
“I’m going to drive until I can’t drive anymore,” she says. “The reason is because of the company I work for. I like the people in management and all the people I work with. Everyone is nice. Plus we get multiple breaks during the school year, which gives us time to regroup and take a breath from all the stress. It’s great.”
As to her success as a driver, she has a simple philosophy – everyone follows the rules.
“You can’t let the kids take over,” she says.