The driver made the public post because “so many people can hate our summer visitors,” referring to Orthodox Jews who spend their summers in the Catskill Mountains.
By United With Israel Staff
On July 9, Sullivan County school-bus driver Ann-Marie Barton wrote on Facebook about her surprisingly positive experience while transporting a group of Orthodox Jewish boys attending camp in the area. She made the public post because “so many people can hate our summer visitors,” referring to Orthodox Jews who spend their summers in the Catskill Mountains.
The post went viral, leading Barton to make a follow-up video thanking the boys for giving her the strength to spread the message of love.
Her first post was on the Facebook group Uncensored Sullivan County New York News and Politics. She wrote:
“I’m a school bus driver in Sullivan County. I did my first Jewish camp trip today.
“Three years ago I moved here and I wondered how so many people can hate our summer visitors.
“I guess no matter who the group is… if you put 300,000 people in any small community, it’s going to create havoc. After three summers. I can see how people get frustrated. I’ve been frustrated too.
“Then today happened and I felt the need to share this… as I’ve already said… today was my first trip.
“I had a bus full of 14 year old boys from one camp and I could not have asked for a better behaved, polite and grateful group of boys. Each one thanked me as they got on my bus and again as they got off. I asked them all not to leave a mess and there was not one thing left on my bus. Not ONE thing!!
“I admit I don’t [know] much of their culture. But I read what people post about them and all their bad behavior. I guess if I came each summer to a community that makes it clear that I wasn’t welcome, I wouldn’t try too hard to be nice either.
“I’m sure there are always going to be bad apples in every group…. but there were 99 VERY well behaved, polite and grateful boys on our buses today and THAT doesn’t happen by accident. My hat is off to the parents raising these boys.”
BELAAZ, a media/news company in Jerusalem, got wind of the post and contacted Barton, asking her to share more of her thoughts.
In a video, shared by BELAAZ Facebook on July 12, Barton said that she was “nervous” to drive 99 Jewish boys from a camp in Liberty, New York to a local bowling alley as she saw how much “hate there is towards them” following her move to Sullivan County in 2014.
“So, here I am making this video, hoping that I can reach more people, and I’m asking you all to show more love,” Barton said. “Hold the door open for the next person. Look somebody in the eye and smile as they walk by you. If you are in a heavy day of traffic, let someone turn in front of you.
“Let’s show more love, more respect, more kindness just like these boys on my school bus.
“And, to the boys on my school bus that day, I want to thank you for giving me the strength to spread this message of love. Thank you boys,” she concluded.
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