Pauline Brownfield never thought she could love another person’s children, and she certainly never pictured herself driving a school bus. She started doing the latter at the turn of the century, and now -- 18 years later -- she’s done the former many, many times.
Her passengers, who know her as Miss Pauline, make six hours spent behind the wheel of a Kenton County school bus every weekday worthwhile.
"I've cried with these kids; I’ve laughed with these kids," she said.
She’s even laughed with those children’s parents, she said. Some of the sixth graders riding her bus in 2018 are the children of students she drove at the beginning of her career.
For others, she's been a fixture and a highlight of their educational experience. Haley Wells, a high school senior who boarded Brownfield's bus every weekday for 10 years, said she feels proud to have had Brownfield as her bus driver.
"I hope I get to spend my last year with her," Wells said.
Brownfield plans to continue to drive Wells' siblings and coming generations of Kenton County students, who love her just as much as she loves them.
"By the time I get home, I’m exhausted, but I’m fulfilled," she said. “I truly am."