Letter to Mom Dad

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Editor’s note: Nansemond River High School student Lonnie Gabriel Hodges has been working in recent months &uot;shadowing&uot; H.M. White of H.M. White Bus Service. White provided this letter Hodges wrote to his parents in the hope that other young people might learn from his example.

Dear Mom & Dad:

I realize that I see you every day, yet I often have difficulty sharing my innermost thoughts with you. Therefore, I decided to write this open letter to share my feelings.

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That you for letting me work with Mr. White at the bus garage. We never have a dull moment. They make me feel like I’m part of the team. We have a good work relationship. Mr. White, the drivers, mechanics and Mr. Almond, the all purpose man, are very nice. The entire group is very professional, respecting each other’s jobs and talents, even mine, and I just came on board.

We believe in working hard and playing hard, because in the end, it’s all about giving service with a smile.

I want to tell you how much I appreciate all the things you have taught me. Insisting that I keep myself clean and neat is paying off in this business. Speaking good English and enunciating clearly is a must when you talk to people from all walks of life while booking trips. Having patience and understanding truly is a virtue when you talk to people on the phone about chartering a bus and they don’t have a clue as to where they are going, how much the bus will be used outside of the normal range or when they will return, but they want a price for the trip.

I have received many compliments on the way I carry myself and my telephone voice. Many of the ladies wish their grandsons were like me. That makes me feel proud and I smile inside. Mr. White and the team tell me that I must have a good personality and be polite to everyone if I want them to choose our service above all the other bus services in the area.

Mr. J.T. Almond caries for our buses. He washes and polishes them each time they go on a trip. Baggage bays are emptied, cleaned and hand polished. Sometimes, Mr. White comes to the garage to check on supplies or to help clean the buses if scheduling puts us in a bind. Mr. Almond isn’t too pleased when that happens because he thinks Mr. White doesn’t do a perfect job like he does. When the outside is finished, he moves to the inside. Bathrooms are dumped and cleaned with a special chemical. Windows are cleaned and polished and floors are scrubbed with a special detergent. Cooling and heating systems are checked for melted candy, candy wrappers, bubble gum or chicken bones.

Garbage bags are on each bus but some of our young riders forget what they are for. This kind of behavior can cause a malfunction in the cooling and heating system and hamper the comfort of our passengers.

When everything is finished, my job is to provide the &uot;sniff test&uot; to each bus. If it doesn’t pass the test, it’s back to the drawing board for Mr. Almond and whomever else is around. The bus does not go out until it can pass the &uot;sniff test.&uot;

I love to open the garage doors and take a deep breath. It smells clean – like weekends at my home. I have gained a brand new respect for Mr. Almond and his many talents. He has taught me that you must be the best at whatever job you do if you are going to compete. Mediocrity is not acceptable.

Thanks Mom and Dad for giving me this opportunity.

Your son,

Lonnie Gabriel Hodges