School bus driver on a mission to spread positivity to students

Students are greeted with encouraging quotes on Anthony Burgess' bus.

School bus driver on a mission to spread positivity to students
Pinellas County Schools
May 8, 2024, 4:47 PM

A school bus driver in Florida is on a mission to spread positivity to elementary, middle and high school students on his route.

Anthony Burgess has been shuttling students for Pinellas County Schools since September 2023. He told "Good Morning America" he came up with the idea this spring to have students write down their favorite quotes and messages of encouragement to decorate the interior of his school bus.

"I wanted to make it brighter and make it a fun space, so I was like, 'Hey, let's make some quotes,'" Burgess said. "I wanted the bus to be more of a positive place for the children and for myself."

Anthony Burgess, 37, has been a bus driver for Pinellas County Schools in Florida since September 2023.
Pinellas County Schools

Over the past two months, Burgess' bus has been transformed into a colorful refuge, filled with supportive notes and drawings from students that line the length of the bus's interior and roof, and greet passengers by the door.

Anthony Burgess, a bus driver for Pinellas County Schools in Florida, spreads positivity to students with handwritten messages displayed on the inside of his school bus.
Pinellas County Schools

Burgess said he had one condition for the kids and their quotes. "Most important is I want it to inspire you. I want it to be something that makes sense to you … just as long as it means something to you, and I want you to talk about it and tell me what it means to you," he explained.

Among the standout quotes are statements like "Your mindset can change everything," "Prove them wrong," "Never give up," and "Never be limited by other people's limited 'Imaginations.'"

Anthony Burgess said he had the idea to collect positive messages to brighten up the inside of his students’ school bus.
Pinellas County Schools
The handwritten messages on Anthony Burgess’ school bus feature students’ favorite quotes.
Pinellas County Schools

Some of the quotes are from legends like Mother Teresa and Walt Disney, who is attributed with the quote "If you can dream it, you can do it."

To Burgess' surprise, a few of the quotes the students chose to highlight are from the beloved school bus driver himself.

"The world is brighter because you're a part of it - Mr. Anthony," one handwritten note reads.

"What really got to me, actually … was when I told them to pick a quote from someone that inspires them. Several of them wrote, 'Stay awesome - Mr. Anthony.' They used me and I didn't even think that would even be a thing. But that was really, really, really nice," he recounted.

Another message that stood out to Burgess: "Don't let that monster named 'anxiety' control you!"

Some students added drawings to their encouraging quotes and messages.
Pinellas County Schools

"I thought it was cool for a middle schooler to say, 'Hey, I struggle with anxiety.' And I was like, that's really awesome that you talked about that, and so it's OK to talk about how you were feeling," Burgess said.

When asked which quote he liked the most, the 37-year-old driver said they all were his favorites.

"They're all really kind of perfect," he said.

"I didn't realize how impactful it would be on these kids," he added. "And they love it. And it's really neat."

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