Meet ‘Miss Sparkles,’ the school bus driver whose positivity is contagious

Kids run to board school bus
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There’s no denying that the right teachers can have a massive impact on kids during their earliest years. But let’s not underestimate the importance of the school bus driver. Their attitude can set the tone for the rest of the day, and one driver for the Grandville Public School district in Michigan is earning some long-overdue recognition for her constant positivity.

Her name is Lori Brooks, but the kids on her bus know her as “Miss Sparkles” because of the shiny clothing and jewelry she has worn since the start of her bus driving career 10 years ago. From the video below, it’s easy to see why the name fits her for other reasons.

As child after child climbs up the steps, 60-year-old grandmother Brooks greets each of them with a wide smile, calls them by name and tells them how much she’s missed them. It’s clear to see that her sunny disposition has rubbed off on the kids, who shower her with hugs and even a cup of coffee.

@teresa_weakley She remembers every kid’s name, every year (and their brothers and sisters) #bestbusdriverever #backtoschool ♬ original sound – Teresa Weakley

MORE: This sweet bus driver held a nervous student’s hand on the first day of school

The clip was shared on TikTok by Teresa Weakley (@teresa_weakley), a mom of two children who both ride with this human ray of sunshine. And while the video was taken on their first day back to school, she says that Brooks is like this every day. Weakley is also a morning anchor with WOODTV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and she couldn’t resist giving her kids’ favorite driver a little extra love on local TV.

According to Weakley, Brooks has been a driver for the Grandville district for 10 years but clearly still loves her job. What’s more impressive is that she keeps that positive attitude even in the face of tragedy. A tree fell on her husband Ron a week before their first wedding anniversary, and he spent much of his life paralyzed before he died unexpectedly two years ago.

MORE: This boy made a shirt that said ‘I will be your friend’ for the first day of school

Brooks took only a few days off to grieve before returning to her bus route. She told “Today” that the kids provide joy that is “helping me to heal.” And she hopes to return the sentiment.

“I hope I can just be that calm, safe zone for them to tell me, good or bad, what’s going on with them, and go from there,” she told WOODTV.

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About the Author
Tod Caviness
Tod covered everything from nightlife to Orlando's literary scene (yes, it has one) during his 11 years with the Orlando Sentinel. These days, he's a freelance journalist and recovering poet who lives in Central Florida with his lovely wife, two brilliant kids and one underachieving dog. Visit Scripps News to see more of Tod's work.

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