PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It seemed to happen in an instant: Students sent home from class, books left behind in lockers, teachers’ classrooms left empty and decorated. As schools across the area made the decision to cancel classes until next fall, our bus drivers never got the chance to say “goodbye.”

One Norwin bus driver decided to change all that, channeling his love of photography with two at-home videos. They featured heartfelt messages from drivers from both Norwin and Penn Trafford School Districts.

“The bus drivers have a connection with students and they didn’t get to say so long to them,” said David Helmstadter, Norwin bus driver and video creator.

Helmstadter snapped pictures of each driver at the bus yard, as they held up colorful and handwritten signs. The cheery yellow school buses served as the perfect backdrop. Set to catchy music, his two YouTube videos garnered thousands of views and shares.

“They were looking for [drivers.] Where’s bus 28? They want to say ‘so long’ to John. Or bus 14. So it really brought a sense of connection together with the community.”

Helmstadter first posted the Norwin video and was shocked to see more than 4,200 people watched his video.

“It went on the [Norwin] community Facebook page and then Penn Trafford saw and contacted me and said ‘Hey Dave, could you come over and do ours?’

He happily obliged, photographing every Penn Trafford driver. He squeezed the 35 beaming bus drivers into one screen on his second video. The drivers held up signs that read “See you next fall” and “We’re all in this together.”

A special message that means something special to each child at home.

Meghan Schiller