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Lakeland celebrates remarkable volunteer with special needs who helps local bus riders

Kevin Hawthorne memorizes bus routes, times
Posted: 5:10 AM, Dec 11, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-11 07:18:35-05

LAKELAND, Fla. — Kevin Hawthorne doesn’t need a schedule at Lakeland’s Citrus Connection bus terminal.

He is the bus schedule. 

The 36-year-old volunteer with special needs has memorized all routes, times, even drivers.

“I like helping people go where they need to go,” says Kevin, who lives nearby with a family he met through his church.

Lakeland is celebrating Kevin as he nears 15 years of remarkable service. The public transportation group just produced a YouTube documentary marking his achievement.

“Kevin knows old routes, new routes,” says Tom Phillips, Citrus Connection’s executive director. “He knows when we make fare changes. He will tell you to the minute which bus is running behind, which is running ahead, even how drivers are feeling.”

Kevin has been volunteering since 2004; when he helped prevent a bus accident. 

He shows up to the terminal five days a week — unless it’s raining. He doesn’t mess with Mother Nature.

“I don’t like that lightning,” he says.