Maurice Mosby helps the students of the University of Central Florida get around in his shuttle, but he does more than provide transport. He gets to know his riders’ names and individual interests because, as a veteran, he knows how hard it is to be away from home (video below).
"I just wanted to make them feel comfortable because that’s what I wanted for someone to do for me while I was in boot camp,” he told the Orlando Sentinel.
Mosby made a particularly strong impression on 22-year-old Joshua Gicker, a junior cinema studies student, when he transferred to the university in Fall 2015. The pair struck up a conversation when Gicker was the only student on the bus. “I realized shortly thereafter that it wasn’t just me he was talking to, he was talking to everyone,” Gicker said.
Gicker recently asked Mosby about his birthday and he mentioned it was Feb. 14 - Valentine’s Day. Gicker immediately took to social media and reached out to former and current residents at the Plaza on University apartments appealing for donations for Mosby’s birthday fund.
"I'm pretty sure everyone here knows Maurice the bus driver," Gicker wrote in the post. "He's arguably the most friendliest guy at UCF and always makes it a point to say hello to everyone that walks on his bus."
Other students started their own fundraising efforts. Student Megan McCarthy started an online fundraiser with the platform Tilt, which garnered nearly $350 for Mosby’s birthday gift.
“I knew people liked Maurice but I didn’t know that many people would be interested in helping someone," Gicker said.
In total, 75 people chipped in $451 and Gicker used the money to buy Mosby a $421 Visa gift card, plus a $30 restaurant voucher. He presented Mosby with the gifts and the exchange was captured in a video, which Gicker posted on his YouTube account.
“(Mosby) is easily one of the most kind individuals I have ever met. He doesn't care what you look like or who you are, he always has a smile for you,” Gicker wrote in the video’s description. “I watched tons of college students come together to give back to this man who goes above and beyond in his job everyday.”
The video has gone viral and garnered more than 46,000 views since it was posted on Feb. 16.
Mosby was grateful for the gift and the students who pulled it together. “I want as many people as I can tell to know how nice these folks are, these students," he said. "They’ve always been down to earth and polite, and they’re brilliant students also.”
Mosby added: “Thank you very much UCF, you’re the greatest, you rock – don’t stop.”