Good People Doing Good Things — Curtis Jenkins!

These days more than ever, we need to be reminded of all the good people, people who are giving of themselves to do good for others.  They aren’t hard to find … you sometimes just have to sift through all the noise to find these people quietly going about the business of … being good people.  Today, I would like you to meet a school bus driver for Lake Highlands Elementary school in Dallas, Texas.  His name is Curtis Jenkins and his story is heartwarming … Gronda, get your tissues.Curtis-Jenkins.jpegUp until eight years ago, Curtis owned his own plumbing and electrical company.  Then, his mother became ill and he needed greater flexibility in order to take her to and from appointments, so he sold his business and took a job with the Richardson Independent School District (RISD) driving a school bus.  And it was there he found his passion in life … the kids.

Jenkins makes the trip to and from school fun!  He has created a community inside bus No. 1693. Students apply for their ‘jobs’ and earn “bus bucks” that Jenkins designed himself. Children who don’t work receive a weekly stipend ($5 bus bucks), but they’re taxed $2.  Only recently, he added another wrinkle … each working child contributes one of their bus bucks to help those who aren’t working.  At the end of the week, bus bucks can be redeemed for needed school supplies (purchased by Curtis). Among the ‘jobs’ are sheriff, police officer, banker, administrative assistant, and translator.

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Students are fined when they break Jenkins’ rules, which are centered around respect and compassion.

“I’m teaching love. If you don’t love, it might cost you some things.”

It’s no classroom, but Jenkins plans daily lessons that he worries are otherwise neglected. He shows students how to fly paper airplanes and tie a tie, among other useful life skills.

“I want to put imagination back in children without desensitizing them.”

Students campaigned for bus president in March and were tasked with creating a budget to add more jobs. But multiplication is tricky. So is public speaking, which is why one fifth-grader dropped out of the race.  A second-grader, trying to offer him words of encouragement, said …

“Look, all you need to say is some fancy words, and something that’s going to make everyone excited or something. Then they’re going to choose you. It’s not that hard.” (I can’t imagine where the kid learned that lesson?)

But Curtis Jenkins’ acts of kindness go much further than that.  He makes each child on his bus a special card on their birthdays, and he and his wife, Shaneqia, purchase turkeys for some of the kids’ families at Thanksgiving.  At Easter, he and Shaneqia put together special Easter bags for the kids.  It’s the little things that mean so much.

Every morning when he arrives at school with his young charges, he gives a brief talk from the front of the bus with advice like, “Walk with a purpose until you walk into your purpose. Everybody deserves a chance. No matter the odds, don’t ever count anyone out — including yourself.”  The kids love him.  One parent reported recently that her child is excited to get up and come to school because he knows Jenkins will be there to greet him each morning at the bus stop.  Another child said …

“My mom got divorced when I was only 4. He’s the father that I always wanted. In some ways, I wish my dad could have been like that.”

Until last December, Curtis had gone quietly about the business of being a bus driver, mentor, helper, with few outside the school noticing.  That all changed the week of Christmas, however, when he and Shaneqia decided not to buy Christmas gifts for each other, but instead to spend the money on gifts for the children.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, he got the kids talking about what they hoped to get for Christmas, and Curtis made mental notes.  In the end, he and Shaneqia ended up also spending the money they had put back for a second honeymoon … they felt this was more important. One of his fellow bus drivers and a parent also chipped in once they discovered what he was doing.

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A teacher took a picture of Curtis standing before his gift-laden bus and the school posted it on Facebook as a way to thank Curtis for going above and beyond the call of duty. The photo and accompanying story went viral.  The post was be shared 13,500 times and his story ran across media outlets in 20 countries, all within 48 hours!  HuffPost and even Breitbart picked up the story, as did CBS and NBC.

Jenkins wasn’t prepared for the nonprofits who claimed they donated to him, even though they hadn’t. A company is turning a profit by sending thank you cards to him on behalf of their customers. His daughter wasn’t ready for the 2,000 Instagram followers who flooded her inbox in search of her dad’s contact information. Jenkins didn’t expect to buy a P.O. box or hire a lawyer to establish a nonprofit.

But that is what, after giving it much thought, he did.

“If I have a platform now, why not use it?”

Jenkins’ nonprofit, Magnifying Caring and Change, is still in the development stages, but will be an extension of what he does for the students on his bus. He partnered with Cozy Coats for Kids to buy jackets for students. His hope is that one day he’ll have a community center for them after school.

“Just take the time to look at yourselves and think, if you were in another position than what you are in right now, how do you want somebody to treat you. I’m not rich at all. But I plan to one day be a blessing to people in need. We need these kids to know they have potential — they are like little apprentices. One day they will be the leaders when we aren’t around.”

Wise words from a wise, kind, and compassionate man.  Two thumbs up to Mr. Curtis Jenkins!

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37 thoughts on “Good People Doing Good Things — Curtis Jenkins!

  1. Humanity in its most need can bring out the best in humans.
    How well I am learning that these days. Business owners where we are evacuationers are supplying us with food and other necessities. Our lodgings are paid for. Volunteer organizations are putting on barbeques and free dinners. (Anyone remember feed-ins from their hippie days?) The Town of Peace River is going all out to make us feel more than at-home. We say thank you, but that just doesn’t seem enough.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is so true … after a disaster, people step up to the plate and give of themselves … for a while anyway. I’m so glad to hear that your lodgings are being paid for … I was concerned about that and emailed you yesterday. It’s wonderful that everyone is pitching in … almost restores one’s faith in humanity, doesn’t it? No, sometimes ‘thank you’ doesn’t seem enough, but is all you have. I think the ‘pay it forward’ notion comes into play … someday, somewhere, you may have an opportunity to help others in a similar way.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Rawgod. I am sorry for your situation. I missed why you are in the situation that you had to abandon your home. From you comments I get that you and your family are OK, which I am very happy to hear. Best wishes for you / your family and please keep us informed of your situation. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Scottie,
        The town I live in is High Level, Alberta, Canada. At present it is almost surrounded by wildfire, all our old forest going up in flame. We were ordered to evacuate May 20th, and since then the fire has increased in size manyfold. Fortunately for the humans in the area the fire is only threatening unsettled areas, but the amount of wildlife destroyed is incredible. But this is not the only wildfire burning in our general area, and if fires join together much of our surrounding land will be burned out. Each tree burned means less carbon dioxide removed from our atmosphere. I can’t even guess how many trees we have lost so far, but it is in the billions, if not the trillions.
        To put it into American measurements, as of yesterday we have lost close to 600,000 acres of forest in 2 weeks. But, yes, we are safe. Thank you.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Hello Rawgod. Oh my fucking ***. I didn’t know. I grieve for the loss. The amount of harm for the people, the animals, the environment, and for all of the world is more than I can really understand and process. My best for you, your family, and all the area involved. Hugs

          Ps. I googled the area you mentioned. The reporting is almost unbelievable. It reminds me of the fires in California last year. How can the planet, the human species, the vulnerable animal species, survive all these disasters? Hugs

          Liked by 1 person

          • There have been no human deaths yet, as far as I know, but no one seems to care about the wildlife of the plant life. You caught that right away, and that helps. Sometimes individual humans can only see things as far as they are concerned. Maybe I expect too much out of my fellow humans, but I don’t hear enough thanks yous to the people helping us out, or enough sorrow for non-human life. I think I’m getting old…

            Liked by 2 people

  2. Multus kudos to Mr. Jenkins. Tremendous boos to any who tried to take credit or make money off what he and his wife did at Xmas. Where do people get off lieing about helping when they did absolutely nothing for anyone in this story.
    Humanity at its best shows off humanity at its worst!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Indeed, I love the human kindness of this man and his wife. Your final sentence is so true … sad, but true. But, I’m thinking … perhaps the reverse is also true? Think about whenever there is a disaster of some sort … people come out in droves to help. After 9/11, New Yorkers actually acted like they noticed one another and cared about each other. For two weeks, anyway. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Jill. I tried to find the charity they were going to set up to donate some money to. Unfortunately I couldn’t find anything. If you find out they have set one up, please let me know, Ron and I want to help them out. Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

        • I did find it, but they don’t have a donation page set up yet, nor much of anything on their website. I’ll try to remember to check back on it in a month or so and let you know then. Meanwhile, I do believe there is a GoFundMe … I’ll look for it tomorrow … trying to finish up here so I can get some much-needed sleep after two sleepless nights. But please, if I forget, remind me tomorrow. How generous of you and Ron! I know it will be appreciated! Hugs!

          Liked by 1 person

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