Perhaps only second to being a husband and grandfather, “Mr. Ed” cherished his role as a Washington Township, New Jersey, bus driver for nine years. A recent leg injury kept him out of driving for the latter part of the school year, but that didn’t stop his students from celebrating his well-deserved retirement.
Prior to his driving tenure, he served in the United States Navy and worked for 40 years in the beverage industry as a truck driver and manager. A diagnosis of prostate cancer triggered a change in his life.
“And then after that career, my wife and her friend tried to convince me to drive a bus and I said, ‘There’s no way,'” Wolk said. “And nine and a half years later, I enjoyed every second of it. Every second.”
Today, a surprise party was thrown by the parents of Mr. Ed’s passengers. And they didn’t need to look any further than their teary-eyed children to prove its impact.
Year 3 student Annabella Leibrand summed it up in her own way.
“I feel like he’s one of my soulmates and I want to be like him,” she said. “And I just love him.”
Mr. Ed is known for his quirky morning greetings and singsong signature. Like clockwork, it can inspire every student to sing along to the “Spongebob Squarepants” theme song.
“We used to talk about basketball, baseball, football, and we just had a good relationship,” said 4th grader Steven Murray. “He was like a best friend to us.”
Ed Wolk will miss driving his routes to pick up students from Birches Elementary School, Chestnut Ridge Middle School and Washington Township High School. But he has advice for any children he might miss.
“Be nice to each other. Love and help each other,” he said. “And when you get older, do something for your community because that’s what it’s all about.”