Rick, take the wheel
Bus Driver Rick uses job to encourage students
In the eyes of Liberty University bus driver Richard Edwards, his job means so much more than simply taking students from Point A to Point B on campus.
Instead, Edwards sees his spot behind the wheel as a platform which allows him to do what his true passion is — engaging with and providing an unceasing amount of encouragement to his passengers.
Never one to shy away from spreading a positive word or a boost of morale, Edwards seeks to use his position as a way to bless every student that steps onto his bus.
“Every day, my prayer is ‘God, make me a blessing,’” Edwards said. “I want (students) to be aware that while they’re away from family, there’s someone who’s think- ing about them and praying for them.”
A minister and a former staff member at a Colorado church, Edwards made the decision to step down from the church’s staff and moved to Virginia to live closer to his family.
As being a motor coach driver was always on his life’s “bucket list,” he was hired at Liberty in 2013 and said he sees his time behind the wheel for Liberty as an opportunity for his continued ministry and not simply a job.
“When God calls you to ministry, you never really leave it just because you’re not in a full-time position,” Edwards said. “There’s an old saying that says ‘Be the kind of person people like to see come rather than go,’ and that’s my desire.”
Striving for a personal connection with every passenger, Edwards said he has experienced some moments that make his whole goal worthwhile.
Always open to praying for students going through difficult times, he has seen some truly amazing things in the lives of his passengers, and he attributes it all to God. He also said his ultimate objective is to treat everyone as Christ would treat them—regardless of who they are or where they come from.
“The reward of ministry is the validation that God is using your life,” Edwards said. “The greatest lesson God is teaching me is that learning to love like Christ is giving every student — red, yellow, black, white, big, fat, skinny, small, tall — the same love and attention that Jesus would.”
Coming into his fourth year at Liberty, Edwards has become known across the campus as “Bus Driver Rick,” and was even the subject of a student-led push in 2015 to have him speak at Liberty’s Convocation.
Edwards has also used social media sites such as Twitter (@busdriverrick) and Instagram (@lubusdriverrick) to spread his positivity. While he enjoys being recognized by the Liberty community, he also wants to keep the focus on God, who is the one that has given him the personable attributes he uses daily.
“If the popularity or the status is simply vindication that God is using me to be an encouragement, then that’s really my reward and that means a lot to me,” Edwards said.
With an uplifting attitude that he brings along what- ever route he drives, Bus Driver Rick plans to continue his ministry to whomever boards his vehicle for as long as he can, and he makes sure to never forget the source of his spiritual gift of encouragement.
KLINKER is a feature reporter.