Formerly a David and a ‘76 graduate of E. Broussard, she married her high school sweetheart Bryan Romero in 1977.
She initially attended beauty school, but later opted to stay home to rear their children. Romero also helped her husband farm rice, and soon became experienced with operating heavy machinery. The idea of driving a school bus was not a novel concept for Nell, as her mother drove one for 21 years.
After substitute driving she took over Bascum Hebert’s Cow Island bus route. The path consists of Highway 335 West, around the Liberty Farm area, and bused children to E. Broussard. After the consolidation, in the early 1990’s, the destination changed to Rene Rost Middle and Kaplan High School.
Throughout the years, Nell has witnessed many changes in her profession.
One of the most noteworthy is that, three decades ago, a CDL wasn’t required to operate a bus. Now certification is required, and all bus drivers must undergo continuing education. Drivers must check their buses, including a pre-check inspection, and can only drive a total of forty hours per week counting extracurricular trips.
Another noticeable change has been the discipline among children over the years.
“There is no more respect between students. There’s a lot of bulling. In the past, there may have been a few isolated cases of student misconduct in a year, but now it’s almost on a daily basis. Also, the vulgarity of the kids has increased.”
An average day begins at 5:30 a.m. She is on her route by 6 a.m, and drives until 8:15. Her afternoon route is from 2:30-4 p.m.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Romero transports TAG students which keeps her busy in between her morning and afternoon routes. Nell also drives for Abbeville High sporting events, where her son Jordan is a Coach.
Even though vacations are welcomed, she always misses her students and is eager to get back to work. She loves her job, and stresses that it takes a considerable amount of discipline, patience and an extreme love for children to be a successful bus driver.
She reveals, “To be a bus driver, you have to love children and love being around them. Sometimes we’re the first nice person a child may see in the morning and the last in the afternoon. That’s why I always tell all my kids ‘good morning’ and ‘good afternoon.’”
Technically with 25 years of full time employment, Romero could retire at the end of this school year, but she plans to drive for another five years.
Away from work, Nell enjoys gardening and being outdoors. She helps to care for her aging parents and her young grandchildren. The Romero’s have three sons: Jeremy, Justin, and Jordan; and five grandchildren with one more on the way.