He’s gone from busting criminals to bussing kids.
A former FBI boss has embarked on a new career as a bus driver in Virginia, transporting autistic children to and from their local school.
Mike Mason, 63, spent more than two decades at the FBI, working his way up to become executive assistant director — one of the most powerful positions in the agency.
In that role, Mason was responsible for 6,500 workers in Washington, DC, 56 FBI field offices in the US, 59 FBI offices overseas and the bureau’s fleet of 100 aircraft.
“For context, probably half of the FBI’s operational resources fell under me,” Mason told the Washington Post. “I remain one of the four most senior African Americans in the FBI’s history, and I’m very proud of that.”
After leaving the agency in 2007, Mason spent more than a decade working with Verizon before deciding to retire last year.
However, the former FBI bigwig found himself at a loose end and decided to try his hand at another job.
“I was ready to get back into doing something that would give my life a regular cadence,” he said.
Beginning in April, Mason began working with Chesterfield County Public Schools as a bus driver after seeing a local news story about a shortage of people applying for the positions.
The ex-agent spent several weeks completing his driver training course before becoming qualified to hit the road.
Now, Mason ferries nine autistic students between the ages of 10 and 18 to a local school each morning. He returns to pick them up at the end of the school day.
Mason was also profiled by “CBS Evening News” and told the program he is relishing his new role.
“This is not hyperbole: I’m smiling every day I start that bus up … I’ve done some important things, but guess what? This is important, too,” he stated.
Mason — who is a father to two adult sons — earns just over $20 per hour behind the wheel, and is able to donate most of the money to charity.
Meanwhile, Chesterfield County Public Schools are thrilled to have the former FBI agent on board.
“As the first and last school representatives that most students see each day, bus drivers have a great deal of influence on our students’ success,” superintendent Merv Doherty said.
While some might be surprised that Mason has made the detour, he says he approaches his new job with “the same sense of duty.”
“I think in our society we need to get next to the idea that there are no unimportant jobs,” he said. “I mean, what could be more important than the attention we pay to our education system?”