Beloved Delaware County School Van Driver ‘Mr. Jim’ Ruane Retires After Making Special Promise To Student

DELAWARE COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — With schools letting out for the summer, it’s also the end of the line for one beloved school van driver in Delaware County. He picked Wednesday as the day to retire after making a very special promise to one student.

That’s a wrap.

After eight years of driving children to and from school, this is Jim Ruane’s final spin behind the wheel of his Southeast Delco school van. Good old van No. 46. The kids call him “Mr. Jim.”

What does he make of all this attention?

“I don’t want it,” Ruane said. “I’d rather be behind the scenes.”

Ruane, a retired post office clerk from Collingdale, is humbled by the attention.

It was a Facebook post that signaled the end of the line, but it shared a more important moment — the special bond between a bus driver and his students. One student, in particular, Carrington Campbell, now a fresh graduate from Saint Francis of Assisi in Springfield.

“He was just so friendly to me and he made me feel comfortable, and over the years, you know I didn’t feel like he was just some bus driver driving me, he was more than that,” Carrington said.

So how did this line up? Eyewitness News is told it is no coincidence.

The day that Carrington graduates is the day that Mr. Jim would hang up his keys. So after driving her to and from school since her first day of kindergarten, Ruane would retire when Carrington moved on to high school.

“I just love that we stuck by our promise throughout the years,” Carrington said.

“I told my wife a couple of years ago that when Carrington left, I was going to leave,” Ruane said.

Ruane’s wife Terry Ruane says it’s just in his nature.

“A caring person,” she said. “He is just a caring person.”

And the school district can’t replace Mr. Jim.

“I wish we had a hundred of him,” Patty Rose, assistant supervisor at Southeast Delco School District Transportation Department, said. “It would just make life so much easier.”

Ruane’s going to play more golf.

Carrington has some exciting options for high school.

Both families will keep in touch.

“Mr. Jim is family to us, his wife is family,” Neda Campbell said.

After all those school bus trips, two friends part ways.

“Over the years, he has become a really good friend to me, so it’s just hard to say goodbye,” Carrington said.