Chauncey's Champion: Driver Amanda Wilson
Amanda Wilson, senior driver at Coastal Carolina University, takes students on the ultimate joy ride each and everyday on her “party bus.” Her non-stop jokes and kind heart will make even the most stressed out student smile.
Nick Rosa, a regular rider on Wilson’s route said,“Ms. Amanda is the best. I love riding the shuttle with her!”
She connects with students on a personal level. She asks about their day, how school is going and even makes it a point to remember names. Her shuttles are the opposite of quiet. She engages with riders while making sure they get where they need to go. Traffic jams, long stoplights and congested roads can take a toll on a driver, but Wilson remains calm and has a great deal of patience. She is known for waiting outside while students run into a building to check if their class was cancelled and asks what time they finish with class to ensure she is there to pick them up.
She has a very special relationship with the women’s tennis team at CCU. Several of the team members were regulars on her shuttle and suggested Wilson be the one to drive them to away matches. On her first trip with the team, she navigated them all around Campbell University in NC and helped bring up their energy.
“We usually don’t have many fans at away matches, but Amanda showed up in a CCU t-shirt, with pom-poms and cheered us on,” said Catherine Hewitt, the head coach of CCU’s women’s tennis team. “She was definitely our number one fan that day, and even told the other team we ate “Campbell soup” for lunch.”
Natalie Wall, a senior on the team said, “Still to this day we use her sayings from that trip because they make us all laugh!”
Wilson is a native of North Myrtle and graduated from North Myrtle Beach High School in 1983. She said the Myrtle Beach area is home. It’s where her family lives and where she raised her two sons, A.J. and Kentell.
She lives in Little River and loves spending time with her 3-year-old grandson, Jameus. When she’s not chasing after her grandson, she attends Truway Holiness Church and shares her faith wherever she can. “I love my church and praising the Lord,” Wilson said.
Before coming to CCU, she worked as a bus driver for the Horry County School system for 14 years. She drove students of all ages, but enjoyed the primary students the most.
“The younger kids always wanted to sing and have fun when they were on my bus, plus they hadn’t developed any attitudes yet,” she said.
Wilson has been a CCU shuttle driver for six years. When she started her job, she drove the larger shuttles that take students to various spots on main and east campus as well as university housing. When she was promoted to senior driver last year, she began driving the smaller gold shuttle. She drives to the Student Union Station, HTC Center, Chanticleer Drive West, TD Sports Complex, Hackler Golf Course, KK Lot, GG Lot and Chanticleer Drive East.
Though the route is different, her positive attitude is still the same. “I really enjoy spending time with students and helping them navigate the campus,” she said.
Chanticleer game day is one of Wilson’s favorite times to drive the shuttle. “Students are so excited and full of energy on game day,” she said. “When we win, it’s wild, but when we lose, it’s a pretty quiet ride.”
Wilson’s I Spy nomination came during new student Orientation this past summer. April Betsch, director of Chant411, noticed Wilson’s friendly spirit and positive representation of CCU while driving incoming students and their families around campus.
“She had just emptied her shuttle at Union Station, and she saw some Orientation guests across the street who looked lost,” Betsch said. “She parked the shuttle, got out and walked across the street to help them.”
When she’s not at CCU, she loves watching football and basketball. “I am the ultimate Dallas Cowboys fan!,” she said. “Everyone who sees me in Cowboys gear tries to make me switch to another team, but The Dallas Cowboys have my heart.”
To relieve stress, she loves spending time on the beach, sitting in the sand and watching the waves. She likes to go alone to gather her thoughts and reflect on the many blessings she has in her life. If she can’t make it to the beach to relax, she hops on her cruiser and rides until her stress is long gone. “Riding my motorcycle gives me a chance to breathe and unwind, which may sound like the opposite of a thrill ride, but I love it,” she said.
“Amanda is a friendly, outgoing driver who is strong in her faith,” said Rich Bender, shuttle dispatcher. “She is always sensitive to serving the student’s needs and is our department’s “Feel the Teal” leader.”
Wilson never has a dull moment at work. She tries brightening the day of all students on her shuttle.
“I am so glad to work here and help out students,” she said. “I have to work, but I can have as much fun as possible while I’m doing it.”
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