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All aboard! Sanibel Sea School gets a little school bus

By Staff | May 13, 2009

In the early months of 2009, Sanibel Sea School was fretting about transportation. With the kids, the buckets, the nets, the volunteers, the life preservers, towels and water bottles, the Sanibel Sea School bus couldn’t handle any more.

“Have you ever seen those foreign movies with buses full of families, caged chickens and bundles stacked to the ceiling? It was getting to be like that. No chickens but plenty of sloshing buckets,” said Sanibel Sea School Director, Bruce Neill.

Enter Sanibel Sea School Board member, Don Wildman.

When Don heard the plea for more transportation, a bell went off in his head. His son, Mark Wildman, is the Vice President of Marketing for a company called The Parking Spot. Perhaps you’ve seen their spotted shuttles at airports throughout the country. Don realized that maybe, just maybe, Mark could figure out how to retire a used Parking Spot shuttle to a little Sea School in need.

And so it was that JoAnn Paul, Sanibel Sea School’s diligent and obviously committed bookkeeper, flew across the country to Austin, Texas to retrieve a shuttle for Sanibel Sea School. She single-handedly drove it across the many miles to its future home on Sanibel. All along the way, “Doc” Bruce would ring up JoAnn’s cell phone. You know how that drive goes: “I’m in Texas. I’m in Texas. I’m in Texas. I’m in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama. I’m in Florida. I’m in Florida. I’m in Florida!” It’s a long one.

Now, Sanibel Sea School is the proud owner of a new bus, which comes with buckets and nets in the luggage rack and happy kids and adults in the seats. All thanks to Don Wildman, Mark Wildman and The Parking Spot, with a commendation for service above and beyond the call of duty by JoAnn Paul. Sanibel Sea School is a non-profit dedicated to marine conservation through experiential education. You can find out more about Sanibel Sea School by visiting their Web site at sanibelseaschool.org.