Joy ride of a lifetime: 23 years roll by for CATA bus driver

Local News

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The wheels on this CATA bus go round and round but unlike the rhyme- this driver- doesn’t say go on back.

For Ron de Leon, driving his bus is an act of love.

“It’s such a blessing to be a part of that and I wouldn’t change it for the world”, says Leon.

Leon says it’s the best decision he’s ever made.

“Haven’t had a bad day yet. So it was the right one.”

Every day brings a different story- and this is one he continues keeping up with.

“A lot of my students have gone on to add me on social media. So you see them as timid freshmen and now you see them all married with kids and 5 kids and owning their own businesses and just going on with their life.  It’s such a awesome feeling seeing that. So that’s what I love about it.”

For Ron, it was extra special when it came full circle.

“I remember me and my kids would always be driving. My daughter barely old enough to look over the window and see stuff. To her later coming to Michigan State and graduating from Michigan State. civil engineering degree in 2018. and just to come full circle like that so I get it as far as a parent-child experience and all that. As far as not having someone there, that just really touches home.”

And it’s no secret that Ron loves his job, in fact, you may have seen it all around the town.

Ron has been driving for CATA for 23 years, and for him, it’s all about the friendships he’s made along the ride.

“Driving a bus is driving a bus. It’s like driving a cab or an uber anything else but that interaction that you get that somebody might just need to hear something when they need to hear it is everything.”

It’s a job that’s turned into an outstanding ride, one that’s led to lifelong friends- and even a fiance.

Ron says it started when one of his regular customers asked him for help.

“She says I don’t want the bus right now but I need some money for lunch because I forgot my lunch money and I’m starving.”

Ron did not even think twice about helping.

“I said ‘Of course’ I reached in and gave her what I had. she gave me a hug and got out the bus.”

Then he heard a remark from someone he didn’t know.

“She doesn’t know you’re my man… that is how I met Michelle.”

Years later, they’re a family.

He says it’s a job that keeps on driven’ and one he plans to hold on to.

“My son is 2 years old so I’ll be driving this another 23 years. god willing  I’ve got no intention of doing anything else. I thoroughly enjoy this.”

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