With love and respect: Kids write letters of support to bus drivers

With love and respect: Kids write letters of support to bus drivers

Letters of respect and support greeted Winnipeg Transit operators after their morning shift on Thursday.

John Callahan, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505, said the union is distributing 274 notes written and drawn by Luxton School students after the stabbing death of a driver on Valentine's Day.

"Some of the letters are really touching," Callahan said. "The artwork too on the envelopes is pretty incredible."

"We thank all bus drivers," reads one of the letters from a Grade 4 student.

"I believe bus drivers should be treated with respect, supporting bus drivers everywhere. Doing a great job in the community," the letter continues.

"From our hearts, we want you to know we are thinking of you and stand beside you as a community member," reads another from a Grade 5 student.

The project started with a book of poems put together by two Grade 6 students at the school after Irvine Jubal Fraser was killed.

The 58-year-old bus operator died from stab wounds at the end of his route near the University of Manitoba on Feb. 14.

Union representatives went down to Luxton School on Wednesday to thank students for the poems with a pizza lunch.

"They knew we were coming, so the school actually got all the students to write letters to the bus operators just in support of what had happened, just to show their appreciation for the work that they do," Callahan said.

Messages in the letters include "with love" and "respect," he said.

Some letters write out words such as TRUST and RESPECT, with phrases of support after each letter.

"That's cute. That's really nice," said veteran driver Crystal Coutts, a friend of Fraser, who received her letter after her morning shift.

"These last two weeks have been very hard, very difficult," Coutts said.

"A lot of people don't understand what it's like losing a brother, and he was very close to me. I was very close to him, and this is awesome that the school's teaching children to appreciate bus drivers, because not everybody teaches their children that."

Some drivers have been moved to tears by efforts made by the community to reach out in this "trying time," Callahan said.

"It's sad that it took a situation like this for us to come together, but I hope it's something that we can build on."