Southern Alberta bus driver shows up for route hours after house catches fire

A southern Alberta bus driver is receiving a wave of support after her home suffered serious damage in a fire last week. Robyn Gilliland is currently running two bus routes, her usual and an extra she picked up to cover for a fellow driver who is sick.

She and her husband were home watching TV when they could smell what they thought were hot electrical wires. Just minutes later, their home was filled with smoke and the fire department was on its way.

“I didn’t want to let them down at this time, and as it turned out, I had so many of my little people that were so concerned about their bus driver that lost their home, it just warmed my heart,” Gilliland said.

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Derek Beck is the director of transportation for the Prairie Rose School Division, which Gilliland drives for. He was in awe of her willingness to be there for the students who need a ride to school.

Read more: COVID-19 fears and extra training to blame for school bus driver shortage in Edmonton

“We are just beside ourselves with the dedication to our Prairie Rose students and we were just very taken aback and very shocked that she would continue to drive that morning — in her PJ’s, by the way,” said Beck.

Gilliland and her husband live and work on a ranch near the Suffield Canadian Forces base. She said the community support immediately rolled in, including a go-fund-me page. She is hopeful insurance will cover most of their expenses but said the show of support from friends, family and even strangers has gone above and beyond. The local fire chief even offering his home for the couple to stay.

“The rural folk are just a whole different breed of people, unless you live here and know them, its, its overwhelming” Gilliland.

A community stepping up for a woman who puts her little passengers’ needs above her own.

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