'Like angels': Students write valentines for Winnipeg bus drivers
Valentines come on the 3rd anniversary of the death of bus driver Irvine Jubal Fraser
Valentines aren't just for significant others or love interests.
For grades 4-6 students at Luxton Elementary School, the holiday is an opportunity to show appreciation for Winnipeg Transit operators on the anniversary of the death of Irvine Jubal Fraser three years ago.
"The bus drivers are always kind and friendly, they smile and get us places safely. The best bus drivers are like angels, and some are even like friends," wrote Kayleigh Bell, a Grade 5 student, in the valentine she made Wednesday.
Bell hopes bus drivers get more thanks from passengers. Fellow student Abby Dowswell agrees.
"I feel sometimes people underestimate the job they are given because a lot of people don't think public transit is very important, but I believe it is very important to those people who need it," she said.
Watch Luxton School students share their Valentine's Day messages to bus drivers:
The Luxton School project started with a book of poems put together by two Grade 6 students at the school after Fraser was killed.
The 58-year-old bus operator died from stab wounds at the end of his route near the University of Manitoba on Feb. 14, 2017.
"That story reached into our hallway," said Robert Schultz, a teacher at the school.
A student's father is a transit driver and he was very upset by Fraser's death, Schultz said.
"We wanted to pay homage to the existing drivers and let them know that they're supported by their neighbours, that we care about them."
It means a lot to bus drivers, said James Van Gerwen, vice-president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505, which represents Winnipeg Transit operators.
He visited the school Wednesday and met some of the students penning the cards.
"It's miraculous. It brings us up and it gives us joy," he said. "[This day] affects us all."
Grade 5 student Russell Flamand said he hopes the cards and poems make bus drivers feel better on Valentine's Day.
"Makes me happy that I'm making people feel better," he said.
"It makes me feel like I'm doing something good that they deserve," Bell said.
Grades 4 to 6 teacher Stephanie Foreman said the letter-writing project teaches the children an important lesson.
"I just really love that the students are getting the message that we all deserve safety. It's our right to feel safe."
- We initially reported that Jubal Fraser died four years ago. In fact, he died three years ago, on Feb. 14, 2017.Feb 12, 2020 2:24 PM CT
With files from Ashley Brandson