‘Our song’ helps Bus 18 students in Bismarck start school day on a good note

Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 4:38 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Nearly 6,000 Bismarck Public School students ride the bus to school.

Most ride Harlow’s buses, but those with special needs are transported by BPS busses.

The district has 19 drivers for those buses, but the driver of Bus 18 stands out from the rest.

Keith Bondley is that driver, and he works hard to make sure the kids on Bus 18 arrive at school with smiles on their faces.

Bondley’s workday starts before the sun comes up. It’s his job to get some very special kids to school every morning. One by one, Bondley greets his passengers. He knows them all by name.

“We’re kind of like a big family here taking care of each other. They are precious cargo,” he said.

Once all that precious cargo is safely loaded, it’s time for a very special song, all about the people on Bus 18.

Seventh grader Grayson Rambough calls this song, “Our Song.” It’s become the theme song of Bus 18.

“Is it cool to hear your name in a song?” reporter Jody Kerzman asked Rambough.

“Yes,” he replied.

“How many times do you listen to it every morning?” asked Kerzman.

“About a thousand!” said Rambough.

“It’s from a movie,” explained Bondley. ”Debbie Reynolds sang a song and it said, ‘Put a smile on your face brother John,’ and I just changed the words.”

He changed the words to include the names of everyone on this bus. Those who can sing often join Keith. Keith gives a voice to those who can’t.

“I just have to sing louder for them,” said Bondley.

For Bondley, it’s one thing he can do to make sure these kids start their day off on a good note.

“I think the least I can do is bring them to school in such a way that, you know, they’re happy that they’re full of joy and wanting to go to school. It’s amazing what music can do,” he said.

And on Bus 18, it’s music that’s helped create friendships and memories Bondley hopes these kids will remember long after they no longer ride Bus 18.

This is Bondley’s first year driving this route with these kids. He’s been driving for BPS for four years.