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'She's the queen of the buses': Sask. woman has greeted generations of kids on their way to school

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Orleen Smith has been driving school buses since 1976 and has no plans to retire from the industry.

As an 80-year-old great-grandmother, Smith works as a bus monitor for First Student.

She keeps kids in order so drivers, like Paul Kehrig, can focus on the road.

“The kids seem to enjoy having somebody who is kind of like a grandmother to them on the bus — and they listen to her quite well,” Kehrig says.

Smith is nicknamed “the queen” by her colleagues and the students she serves.

“She got that name because she looks like she's the queen — she’s the queen of the buses, I guess you could say,” Kehrig says.

Smith remembers the first time getting behind the wheel of a school bus at 32-years-old.

“Oh, I was nervous because we had to drive standards at that time,” Smith recalls.

One of Smith’s most significant days on the job was about four years ago when a vehicle rear-ended the bus she was monitoring.

“Somebody went through a yield sign ran right into the back of our bus. There was gasoline all over the place … I got the children off the bus and made sure that they were alright,” Smith told CTV News.

Smith says she loves her job and talking with the students every day.

The school bus royalty has no plan to retire.

“I enjoy getting up in the morning and going to work. My husband passed away, so I was alone, and this gave me something to do. Everybody is so good here, and the Christmas parties and all that helps,” Smith says, laughing.

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