MONTEVALLO, Ala. — If you went back 10 years ago and asked Wayne Price what he would be doing in 2018, his answer would not be a bus driver. Back in 2013, Price was working full-time in ministry, but a good friend of his who used to be a principal convinced him to become a bus driver.
Price knew he wanted to keep working with young people, so it was a perfect fit.
"I was just amazed at how quick I fell in love with the kids," Price said. "I work with teenagers and college-aged students for most of time dealing with youth ministry, but God developed a love in me for all the ages."
For Price, he truly embraces each morning when he is behind the wheel driving elementary, middle and high schoolers in Montevallo.
"You do not have long to talk to them on the bus, but you have a lot of time to influence them," Price said. "It is amazing what a kind word, just a smile can do. You get to set the example when they have struggles and frustrations of responding differently than what the world tends to train people to respond."
Tuesday morning, Price woke up to a text message that Shelby County Schools were delayed two hours due to road and weather conditions. With the two-hour delay, breakfast was not going to be served at Montevallo Elementary School. When he stopped to get breakfast for himself, he immediately thought of his kids and bought 50 breakfast sandwiches.
"One of the kids said, 'oh, Mr. Price, you must be rich,.'" "I am not rich. I am in full-time ministry. I am not rich, but you sit there and think about it, you take your family out to dinner, and you can drop $50 going out to dinner, and it was nothing more than taking my family out to dinner. When it came down to the financial side, it was just second nature. I really did not think about it. I thought, hey this would be neat. I bet they will like this."
"I was just so surprised that he did that," Montevallo Elementary fifth grader Elizabeth Lopez said. "I did not think he was going to do it. I am really thankful for having him as a bus driver, and he feels like a dad to me."
"Montevallo is a very special place, and anytime there is a need, so many people step in and help above and beyond what they have to do, and Mr. Price is just an example and a testament to this community and the schools in Montevallo," Principal Dr. Allison Campbell said.
"I truly believe that I love them, and I know love because Christ loved me," Price said. "We get caught up in materialistic things, even buying biscuits to a certain element is a little materialistic, but Christmas is giving. Christmas is showing love. Christmas is esteem in others greater than yourself, but Christmas is the purpose that God sent his son. My love for my kids is purely a reflection of the love that originated in God and Christ."
When the students were given their sandwich, Price only had one request: that the wrappers do not end up on the floor. Sure enough, his floor remained spotless.