Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Pasco

Pasco bus driver creates hilarious remix to ‘Old Town Road,’ shows life of a public school bus driver

‘Washboard Road’ was inspired by Zephyrhills’ Richland Road, bus driver Jay Heilman said.
Screenshot from Jay Heilman's 'Washboard Road.' [YouTube]
Screenshot from Jay Heilman's 'Washboard Road.' [YouTube]
Published Aug. 12, 2019
Updated Aug. 12, 2019

Bus drivers can sometimes catch a bad rap.

But this Zephyrhills bus driver did just the opposite in creating a catchy rap of his own — a remix to the hit song ‘Old Town Road’ that shows the daily joys and struggles of being a public school bus driver.

Jay Heilman, 38, says he created the song to sing with his elementary school riders, which he does with different songs most days, as well as to give a glimpse into what it’s like driving hundreds of students to and from school each day.

The video, which uses other bus drivers and assistants as actors, provides countless funny lines throughout. It also shows the mirror of Heilman’s bus falling off while on Zephyrhills’ Richland Road — something he says actually happened twice last school year.

While mostly filled with jokes and fun, the video also shows a van blowing by his school bus while stopped — a scary and dangerous occurrence that happens to his bus at least once a day, Heilman said, and something he wants drivers to be more cognisant of.

“If you’re gonna be late, that’s your problem,” Heilman said. “Don’t take away my kids safety. They get on and off quick. Their safety is more important than your drive being 30 seconds quicker.”

Related: Pasco deputies: Stop. Driving. By. Stopped. School. Buses.

While the job can become monotonous at times, Heilman says he loves what he does for a living. Part of his joy each day comes from finding different ways to make student’s days better (such as singing Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop The Feeling) — especially his elementary riders, who he quickly gets to know by name, and who know him as ‘Mr. Jay.’

“I really like engaging with the kids," Heilman said. “I always remind people kids are in school for six or seven hours a day, and yes it’s important to get them to school and home safely, but we’re also the last and first face they see. That’s important ... If you see a kid get on the bus with a bad mood, it is partly my job to make them smile.”

The group of students — and infamous road — that inspired ‘Washboard Road’ came from Heilman’s 2018-19 bus route, which served Woodland Elementary, Centennial Middle and Zephyrhills High School.

Heilman says his route this year, however, will be Wesley Chapel based since routes are assigned based on seniority, and he has only been a bus driver for four years. While he says losing his students from a previous year is one of the hardest parts of the job, he’s still happy with his decision to leave Rent-A-Center in Dade City to become a driver.

“The hardest thing is the end of the school year,” he said. “I get really attached to the kids, they get attached to me and when it’s the end of the school year, there’s no guarantee I’ll be able to do their route again next year. But there’s always the next group.”

Heilman, who is a father of five and Pasco High School graduate himself, says he works shifts from 6 to 10 a.m., and then from 1 to 5 p.m. in the afternoon. On some nights he works late, driving sports teams to away games and students to and from far away field trips.

"Becoming a bus driver really started with me wanting to do something different for work,” Heilman said. “And I knew I loved kids and driving ... Now I feel connected with each student that rides. Those are my buddies.”

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. A for sale sign is seen in front of a home in the Westchase area of Tampa. CHRIS URSO  |  Times (2013)
    And a spike in cash sales suggests investors were active in the market.
  2. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
    The driver lost control of his SUV while negotiating a curve, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
  3. A look at the construction on the Tierra Verde bridge project which is the bridge between Isla Del Sol and Tierra Verde islands on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 in St. Petersburg. The project began in December 2018 and is scheduled to be completed in summer of 2021. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Dr. Delay takes a deep dive into the construction process for the $56.3 million State Road 679 and Bayway Bridge project .
  4. A proposed bill in the Legislature would set a statewide referendum on whether to amend Florida's constitution to add a year to the period when home buyers can transfer their accumulated benefits under the Save Our Homes cap on property assessments to a new home. Pinellas County Property Appraiser Mike Twitty says going from two years to three would reduce the possibility that construction delays in a booming real estate market would prevent some buyers from meeting the deadline, costing them potentially thousands 
 of dollars in property tax savings. [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times (2019)]
    The bill, the idea of Pinellas County Property Appraiser Mike Twitty, would give buyers another year to transfer their tax savings under Florida’s Save Our Homes assessment cap to a home they’ve...
  5. Child and family advocate Jack Levine. [CHRIS URSO  |  Times]
    The founder of 4Generations Institute discusses his commitment to children and families.
  6. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
    Five girls and one boy will face charges after lunchtime fights disrupted the Pasco County campus, according to the school district.
  7. Tampa-based WellCare Health Plans will become the headquarters for Medicare and pharmacy operations now that it has been acquired in a $17 billion cash and stock deal by Centene Corp., base in St. Louis. (Times files)
    New owner Centene said it “expects to maintain strong operations in Tampa,” which is anticipated to be the headquarters for its Medicare and pharmacy operations.
  8. Kurt Browning, left, is seeking a third term as superintendent of Pasco County schools. Addison Davis, right, is negotiating a contract to become Hillsborough County's next superintendent. [Tampa Bay Times (2016, 2020)]
    A Hillsborough search and Pasco election offer insights into the job and its importance.
  9. More than 44 percent of people who searched on ApartmentList.com for the Tampa Bay area from June to December were outside the region, according to a report from Apartment List. Percentages in the “Top Three Sources” box represent the share of searches coming from outside the metro area. (Apartment List map) [Apartment List]
    The region trails only Denver, Baltimore and San Diego for the percentage of people from outside the area searching for apartments on Apartment List.
  10. The New Port Richey Community Redevelopment Agency agreed to a deal that will bring a Keiser University campus to the city's gateway. [New Port Richey]
    The city agreed to buy properties at U.S. 19 and Main Street. A developer will build a new Keiser University campus and possibly a hotel.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement