Finding Passion on the Bus

What Rutgers’ favorite bus driver taught me about finding a fulfilling career

During my time at Rutgers, the biggest celebrity was not an athlete or a professor, but a bus driver named Stan Mcneil. However, what made Stan famous was not his mad bus driving skills, but his passion for supporting students.

Trips on Stan's LX bus started with a fist-bump, and from that point forward riders stopped being students and became "winners" or "champions." During their trip between campuses, Stan would pepper them with thoughts like "this is your time" and "I can't wait to see the greatness explode out of each one of you." Students then get another fist-bump as they got of the bus and head on their way to classes, reinvigorated by the fact that no matter what, Stan was in their corner.

Immediately after he started driving in 2011, students started responding to Stan's messages. Within weeks of his starting there was a Facebook fan page setup, a Twitter account was created to repeat his messages, and countless photos snapped with Stan on his LX. Not everyone shared this excitement for Stan (including me occasionally), however, many more loved the fact that this stranger was supporting them purely of his own accord.

Stan continued driving for two years until a couple weeks back Stan and Rutgers parted ways (the two sides have differing stories about why this happened). Within the day, Rutgers students took to the Internet to express their sadness through Facebook statuses, tweets, a change.org petition to get him reinstated, and by commenting on a Youtube video he made to students, which now stands at over 25,000 views.

Unsurprisingly, none of the comments on any of these channels talked about Stan the bus driver. they all talked about Stan the motivator. People shared stories about how he had inspired students on their way to exams, how he cheered them up after they had bombed exams, or how he simply helped them feel connected in a university where it's easy to disappear. In short, they shared stories about he made their lives better

What I find most interesting about Stan is that he probably wouldn't have touched so many students if he were in the millenial mindset of “I must be in a job that fulfills my dreams”. Hell, he probably wouldn't have even applied for a position as a bus driver. Instead, he'd see the posting for a bus driver and think "being a bus driver isn't my passion, what I really want is to help people," and then he'd go look for the perfect career for him to help people.

However, what Stan showed everyone is that you can find ways to fulfill your passion in any line of work, sometimes you just need to be a little creative with how you do it.


Thanks to my friend Larry McAllister, who introduced me to this idea idea , and many other important ones, while I was at Rutgers.