Wichita bus driver finishes 40th year behind the wheel

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WICHITA, Kan. As tens of thousands of Wichita students finish the school year Wednesday, it's the end of the year for bus drivers too.

And for one driver she wrapping up her 40th year behind the wheel.

"I love being able to see out and that's why I like driving a big bus like this," said Sharon Lakey.

Sharon Lakey started driving a bus in the Wichita School district in 1977. Now she's doing one of her final pre-route checks for the year.

First Student currently has about 500 drivers, busing around 17,000 students every day. With the average driver lasting less than five years, Lakey shared her secret for longevity.

"You have to love the kids. You have to...they motivate you. They keep you going," said Lakey.

The view and the comfortable chair are bonus perks.

"Yes, it's an air ride," Lakey said as she bounced up and down in the chair. Is it nice and comfy that way? asked Eyewitness news. "Uh huh. It is," Lakey responded with a smile.

For the past several years she's driven this special needs bus, able to haul students who are wheelchair bound.

With the next in line for seniority ten years behind her, Lakey will get to pick her route first again. And it will likely be Levy and North High again.

"I just love the kids," said Lakey. "They're wonderful."

The last day is always a bitter sweet time for her, but knowing summer can just fly by, she's looking forward to getting behind the wheel again.

"I'm not ready to give it up yet. I've got some left in me. So I'm ready to keep going," said Lakey.