School Transportation Department heartbroken over loss of school bus driver

Hillsborough County

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) –Grief counselors will be on hand Tuesday morning at the Hillsborough County School Transportation Department, following the death of bus driver.

Cynthia Gibson – known to her students as Ms. Cherry – died Monday following a car crash. The accident happened as Ms. Cherry made her way to work on the first day of school.

 “Whatever is expected in your behavior in school is expected on the bus,” Gibson said in a 2017 interview with WFLA about the new school year.

For more than 30 years, Ms. Cherry navigated the streets of Hillsborough County.

“She didn’t have a lot of problems. She put her foot down and those kids listened,” said former school bus driver, Jodi St. John.

St. John remembers Ms. Cherry as a very spiritual person who remained active.

“She was a very wonderful person. She was always happy. She was always willing to help. Everyone used to ask her for everything and she’d always give,” she said.

Jim Beekman, the general manager of the school district’s transportation department issued a statement on Monday, saying in part, “To this day, I have never met a driver so unique and so full of passion for those around her. I truly lost a great friend.”  

“Words will never capture how much she will be missed by those who knew her,” he added.

Those who worked with her are remembering her as a mentor for drivers and a friend for students. We’re told Ms. Cherry also greatly enjoyed her role as a grandmother.

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