Oldham County school bus driver Ron Mann has many tools in his repertoire for spreading holiday cheer.
That includes repurposing Christmas villains for a positive end.
When Mann’s commuters stepped on his bus Friday, they expected Santa. That’s who greeted them last year, after all.
Instead, they received a fuzzy green surprise—the Grinch.
Students still knew there was no need to guard their backpacks from the long, prying fingers of the Seussian Christmas menace. This Grinch was born with a heart three sizes too large.
“My kids love me and I love them,” said Mann, a four-year bus driver for Oldham County Schools. “We’ve always got a long and hopefully we always will.”
Mann’s route spans the Kenwood Station, East Oldham Middle, Oldham County Middle and Oldham County High School campuses. He averages 30-40 stops and approximately 85-100 kids each day.
Spreading holiday cheer long precedes the Grinch issue for Mann and his wife, Cindy.
The couple spent nearly 20 years transforming their yard in Crestwood’s Kentucky Acres subdivision into a magical winter wonderland.
The drive-thru display featured strands of Christmas lights and hand-painted wooden cutouts of cartoon characters like Charlie Brown, Dora the Explorer and Winnie the Pooh along their driveway.
Amidst the suburban holiday spectacle, Mann dressed as Santa, accompanied by Cindy, who dressed as Mrs. Claus.
Together, they greeted more than 15,000 kids and “adult kids” at their home throughout the years until health complications eventually hampered the production.
Despite their decision to hang up the lights at their home, the Manns still find small ways to spread holiday cheer wherever they can.
Cindy, Ronn said, put painstaking effort into his Grinch makeup this year. Despite years of portraying Santa at his home and as a bus driver, Mann said he fancied playing the Grinch.
“I kinda like the Grinch better,” he said with a laugh. “It was just a change of pace.”