Every day, Jamie Creamer, the 46-year-old bus driver for the South Portland school district, ushers his students to and from school—but he sees his job as more than that. He takes the time to get to know the kids, listening to their stories, protecting them from bullying, and even cheering them on at the events and competitions he takes them to.
According to WCSH, Creamer left a job at the Portland Department of Parks and Recreation for the bus driver gig—even though it paid less, he says it’s been absolutely worth it.
He drives everyone, from kindergarten to 12th grade. On the job for 12 years, he’s been there long enough to have seen a generation entirely through school. And over the years, his considerate attitude has paid off: he’s beloved by the student body, and he loves them in return.
“It’s not even like working,” he told the Portland Press Herald.
“It’s like I’m their uncle.”
Which made it hard on everyone when one day, Creamer wasn’t on the bus.
A few months ago, Creamer was diagnosed with throat and head cancer, and he’s been struggling through treatment ever since. While he was reluctant to leave his beloved post, he had to take a leave to focus on his health.
“He’s such a good kid,” district transportation coordinator Gloria Nelson said. “He worked as long as he could, but things are getting really tough for him now.”
He faced a tough road: his treatment plan included 35 radiation treatments and eight chemotherapy sessions, which always left him sick and tired.
Creamer was approaching his final chemotherapy appointment—but he was feeling so drained and exhausted that he was already giving up hope.
“I didn’t want to do it,” he told ABC News. “I was freezing, I felt sick, I didn’t want to go.”
The day arrived last Wednesday morning, and Creamer was admitted to Mercy Hospital’s Fore River Campus for one more chemo session.
While he was finally done, he was still feeling sick and dispirited in his hospital room.
But then, he saw something from his window that turned everything around…
His students were out in the parking lot for a surprise performance!
The students of the Portland High School marching band knew Creamer well: he was always the one taking them to their competitions, where he would cheer them on from the sidelines.
Creamer really was a fan of the band, something known to his wife, Tammy—who arranged the whole thing, knowing her husband would need a pick-me-up after the latest ordeal.
“It’s been a long journey and it’s going to continue to be a long journey,” Tammy told WCSH.
“I wanted him to be inspired, so I said the one thing for sure would be those kids.”
His students were more than happy to help make Creamer’s day, after all he had done to support them.
“It was really important to give back to the man who has gotten us through so many band seasons,” senior and tuba player Josh Hyssong told the Press Herald.
“I’m really glad we were able to make this gesture of support for him and to wish him well.”
Not only did they perform, they also unveiled a get well banner signed by the whole school:
And his fellow bus drivers paraded by his room in salute.
Creamer was stunned—it was exactly what he needed.
“I felt like crap until they came,” Creamer said. “Now I feel awesome. I feel so blessed.”
With the end of his treatments finally in sight, he’s more determined than ever to get better and return to his kids
“Being sick from the chemo each time, I know there’s an end to it now,” he told WCSH.