It’s been one long ride for this bus driver

By Omar Thabet

Special to the Review

How can you not like a guy nicknamed “Hippo”?

Chances are if you went through Hamtramck Public Schools, you’ve met John “Hippo” Hypnarowicz. He’s been driving school buses here for 33 years, and next Friday is his last day on the job.

Yes, the nickname Hippo comes from abbreviating his last name and the fact that John is a pretty big, barrel-chested guy. The nickname works on a couple of different levels. But as big as he is, many say Hippo’s heart is even bigger.

That’s because Hippo has a special place in that big old heart for the Special Ed kids. For the past 16 years he and a crew of supporters held Christmas parties for the kids and judging by the smiles, it was a mutual love.

“The most cherished moments I had driving that bus was when I drove for the Special Ed kids for 16 years,” Hippo said.

Getting the bus driving gig wasn’t planned on. Hippo said he was laid off when the job opened and lo and behold, he stuck around. Besides shuttling the Special Ed kids, he also had other spirited moments.

“The best times I had driving that bus was when the Hamtramck Public Schools were winning games, receiving trophies, and coming back to the bus celebrating their victories,” he said.

It’s probably agreed by the many students he’s chauffeured over the years that Hippo deserves a victory lap himself.

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