Blue Bird bus donation keeps kindness rolling

awoolen@macon.comDecember 11, 2013 

ANGELA WOOLEN/THE SUN NEWSOne Million Acts of Kindness founder Bob Votruba lets his dog, Bogart, survey their new home, a 24-foot Blue Bird bus.

FORT VALLEY -- For a man who spreads kindness, receiving it is humbling.

When Bob Votruba sold his home five years ago and took up residence with his Boston terrier, Bogart, in an old school bus he found on Craigslist, he had no idea a school bus would lead him to Middle Georgia.

Blue Bird Corp. donated a 24-foot bus to One Million Acts of Kindness on Thursday to support its mission of speaking to schoolchildren about being kind, giving back and peace. Votruba will use the bus to travel around the U.S., speaking on behalf of the organization he founded.

“His charter fits our charter,” Blue Bird Chief Operating Officer John Kwapis said.

Because Blue Bird’s main focus is to provide school buses for children, One Million Acts of Kindness was a perfect choice for the company to donate a bus to, Kwapis said.

With help from Mid-State RV Center and PPG Industries, the bus had a custom paint job in light blue. Votruba has nicknamed the new bus “Bluebird.”

The total value of the donation, including paint, labor and the bus itself, was about $25,000, said Erin Lake, marketing communications manager at Blue Bird.

Votruba started his mission after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, in which a student killed 32 people before taking his own life. Votruba wondered if one person’s act of violence could affect that many people, how much could one person do spreading kindess?

The old bus with its 450 quotes written on it will be shipped to Blacksburg, Va., the site of the massacre.

The messages from the people he visits will be written on the new bus later. For now, it is a blank slate with only logos.

Inside is just as bare -- there are no seats, save the driver’s -- but Votruba has plans to get a king-sized bed as well as file cabinets for his next five years traveling in the bus.

With his previous bus, he had about 7x12 feet of living space, almost as big as the walk-in closet in his former home.

The new bus also has air brakes and air conditioning.

“It is a giant act of kindness to let me continue this mission,” Votruba said.

The kindness bus has reached “hundreds of thousands of children,” he said, not to mention the global reach his Facebook and Twitter feeds have gained.

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