Montgomery Co. school bus driver ‘Mr. Melvin’ retires after 20 years

Fizzelle pulls into the drop-off zone in front of Sequoyah Elementary School in Derwood for final morning run. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
Melvin Fizzelle pulls into the drop-off zone in front of Sequoyah Elementary School in Derwood for his final morning run. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)

Fizzelle names every student pictured on a poster bidding him farewell. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
Melvin Fizzelle names every student pictured on a poster bidding him farewell. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)

Fizzelle names every student pictured on a poster bidding him farewell. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
Melvin Fizzelle names every student pictured on a poster bidding him farewell. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)

Fizzelle gets a group photo of his last group of student passengers before he begins his retirement. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
Melvin Fizzelle gets a group photo of his last group of student passengers before he begins his retirement. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)

Fizzelle leaves his school bus after his final morning run. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
Melvin Fizzelle leaves his school bus after his final morning run. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)

Fizzelle is told by Montgomery County Schools staff to come off the bus to celebrate his last day working for the county. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
Melvin Fizzelle is told by Montgomery County Schools staff to come off the bus to celebrate his last day working for the county. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)

A poster wishes Fizzelle a farewell as he retires after 20 years of working for Montgomery County Public Schools. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
A poster wishes Melvin Fizzelle a farewell as he retires after 20 years of working for Montgomery County Public Schools. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)

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Fizzelle pulls into the drop-off zone in front of Sequoyah Elementary School in Derwood for final morning run. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
Fizzelle names every student pictured on a poster bidding him farewell. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
Fizzelle names every student pictured on a poster bidding him farewell. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
Fizzelle gets a group photo of his last group of student passengers before he begins his retirement. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
Fizzelle leaves his school bus after his final morning run. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
Fizzelle is told by Montgomery County Schools staff to come off the bus to celebrate his last day working for the county. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
A poster wishes Fizzelle a farewell as he retires after 20 years of working for Montgomery County Public Schools. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)

DERWOOD, Md. — Friday was the last day of school not only for Montgomery County public school students but for one of its beloved school bus drivers.

Melvin Fizzelle has been transporting Montgomery County students to and from school for two decades.

Mr. Melvin, as his students called him, earned quite the reputation with his colleagues, students and parents.

“He knows every child by name, greets them by name,” parent Andrea Dumas told WTOP. “On Mother’s Day, he gets off the bus and gives each mother a rose — nannies also.  He gives the kids candy on Friday, Popsicles when it is hot. He loves his job; he loves every kid.”

When Fizzelle arrived at Sequoyah Elementary School in Derwood for his final morning run, he was greeted by parents, teachers and students who all wanted to wish him well in his retirement.

He got off the bus to give hugs to everyone.

Aside from making sure students got to school safely, Fizzelle maintained a simple work philosophy.

“Remember one thing: You were once a kid yourself,” Fizzelle remembered telling other bus drivers throughout his career. “You know how it is. Just treat them the way you’d want to treat them and love them. That’s all.”

He also says he treat the kids as if they were like his three daughters, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

One of the biggest things he plans to enjoy in retirement is not waking up before 4:30 a.m. any more. But he isn’t going anywhere.

“I’ll still be here,” he told the crowd. “I’ll be riding through the neighborhood, gang. So be on your best behavior! I won’t be in a yellow bus, but I’ll be watching!”

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