Everyday Heroes

Bus Driver Goes Out of His Way to Welcome Foreign Students

He even learned how to say 'hello' in their languages and "made them feel at home" the students report


Imagine what it would be like to be in a foreign country. You don't know anyone. You don't know where you're going. And you don't know the language.

A bus driver in Athens, OH is making life just a little less intimidating for the international students at Ohio University. Jeff Workman makes it a point to learn a little bit about their home countries -- enough to say "hello" in their language and make them feel at home.

Yasmine Amrousy was surprised when Jeff said 'hi' in Arabic.

Workman drives a bus for the Athens Public Transit agency. He told The Athens News he especially likes the OU routes where he gets to interact with the students, especially the foreign students. "I told them I'm going to help you as much as I can," said Workman.

They apparently like Workman too. A group of foreign Fullbright Scholars gave him a shout out Facebook at dinner with OU Community Fellow, Patty Mitchell.

"It was my first visit to USA and first time to take a bus in the USA," Fullbright Scholar Yasmine Amrousy told the newspaper. Amrousy spent the summer in Athens, studying at OU. "Jeff was so friendly and welcomed me in the bus and played for me famous Egyptian songs and say 'Hi' in Arabic."

"It made me feel I am at home."

Even the native bus riders appreciate Workman's kindness. "Right away you notice that he greets the foreign students in their native languages and knows a lot of their names," Rick O'Keefe told The News. "I have heard him greet people in Farsi, Arabic, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, Thai, Chinese, Turkish, Vietnamese and Indonesian. They write back to their home countries about him."

When someone told Workman about the video shout-out, he said it made him feel good and explained that his friendliness "comes from in my heart."

At Sparkt we try to do daily acts of kindness, and we hope you do too. If you know of a random act of kindness we'd love to hear about it. Sign up at Sparkt and share your story!

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