EDINBURG – Eight members of the Reyes family recently celebrated another year at the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District, helping to educate hundreds of students by safely transporting them to their campuses every day.
Since April of 1999, Juan Martin Reyes has started his workday by jumping behind the wheel of an Edinburg CISD school bus. He said that he begins every day with one thought in mind: “the safety of the kids.”
“You have to love kids to be here. For me, 20 years now, it’s not easy,” Reyes said. “Once you go through a couple of years, you get the hang of it. Kids get to know you and you get to know the kids. It’s like being a family here on the bus.”
Family is especially important to Juan Reyes. Just how important? Well, imagine inspiring several members of your family to be bus drivers, including your wife.
“After five or seven years, I talked to my wife,” Reyes said. “She wanted to become a nurse and we were kind of deciding and she decided to take a shot to become a bus driver.”
Becoming a bus driver for Edinburg CISD, is exactly what his wife, Eva, decided to do. She said that when she first started, she thought that there was no way she was going to be able to drive a big school bus.
Seven years ago, the couple’s eldest child, little Eva, joined them as a bus driver.
“I needed something to pay for college. So, I started working here,” Eva Maria Reyes Ruiz said. “I saw my dad and my mom working here and they made good money. They were comfortable here. I was already working for the district as a substitute teacher. So, I’m like you know what, I’m just going to for it. I got my CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) and here I am.”
It was also here on the job that little Eva met her husband, Obed Ruiz, who was also a bus driver at the time.
“When she started working here, I saw her, and we were seeing each other. She’s beautiful and I was single back then. We started talking. Obviously, I think she likes me too,” Ruiz said laughingly.
Five years ago, the Reyes’ middle son, Antonio De Jesus Reyes, joined the bus routes.
“Just knowing that there’s a family member that you can rely on is great,” Antonio De Jesus Reyes said. “It’s effortless to unite as a team and work as a team. It’s so comfortable to be here working with them.”
The Reyes family of bus drivers grew larger three years ago, when Juan Reyes’ brother, Luis Ramon Reyes, also joined the team.
“Glad that we are all here together as a family, transporting kids safely to school and back to their homes,” Luis Reyes said. “It’s very rewarding.”
Soon after Luis Reyes started driving, another family member signed up, Claudia Valdez-Molina, who is Eva Reyes’ sister.
“My sister-in-law wanted to be a bus driver too and she came aboard,” said Juan Reyes.
Last year, the eighth and final family member, Sergio Reyes, who is Juan Reyes’ youngest son, began driving a school bus.
“We’re a family. We love each other. We help each other. We support each other,” Sergio Reyes said. “It feels good to be the youngest, because I’m able to see them and learn from them.”
So how does Juan Reyes feel, knowing that he’s inspired a whole family of bus drivers?
“I feel joy and happiness, having all of my family here working as a family,” said Juan Martin Reyes. “It’s been a blessing for all these years.”
Hopefully, a blessing for many more years to come for the entire Reyes family.
For more information on becoming an Edinburg CISD school bus driver, call (956) 289-2511.