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When shuttle driver Maurice stopped at the Plaza on University this morning, he was greeted with more than the typical "hellos" and "good mornings" from his usual passengers. Video by Alissa Smith, Daniela Marin

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When shuttle driver Maurice Mosby stopped at the Plaza on University this morning, he was greeted with more than the typical "hellos" and "good mornings" from his usual passengers.

Cinema studies junior Joshua Gicker stood underneath the shuttle stop's overhang with a gift card totaling more than $400, plus a personalized cake and a $30 gift card to a restaurant, all for Mosby.

After learning Valentine's Day was also his shuttle driver's birthday, Gicker took to the Plaza residents' Facebook page to organize a surprise for Mosby. He soon teamed up with fellow Plaza resident Megan McCarthy, who didn't expect to raise more than $20. But 376 comments and 70 donators later, they had about $450 to give Mosby.

“The first day, you know, we had $30, then $60, then $70, then it climbed into the hundreds, and the final number is $450 something. And he has no idea,” Gicker said just before the reveal Tuesday morning.

Unlike other bus drivers, Gicker explained, Mosby takes the time to learn his passengers by name, and delivers them a "good morning" every day. Since McCarthy's first day of class, Mosby stood out from other drivers, wishing every rider a "happy first day of classes."

“Maurice just sticks out because he not only does his job, but you can tell he loves his job and the people who get on the bus,” Gicker said. “He treats everyone the same. No matter who you are, he treats you good.”

The sentiment rings true for other students, too, including Samantha Goldsmith, a junior theater major, who said Mosby makes her smile every time she gets on the bus.

“I think he’s different because he makes sure to say 'hi' to everyone,” she said. “He starts the morning really well. You get on the bus and even if you’re upset, he’ll start a conversation with you and make sure you’re having a good day.”

Following a jazz career and stint on TV, Mosby has been a UCF shuttle driver for two years and takes pride in his work.

“I’ve been around the world as a musician; I play 12 instruments,” Mosby started before yelling to the back of the bus, as he often does, greeting the students and letting them know that if he could, he’d split the cake with everyone.

“I still play music, but I’m doing this on the side,” Mosby said before stopping mid-sentence to greet the 20 or so students who boarded the bus, greeting every single one individually and some by name. “Good morning, good morning, morning Muhammad, good morning, how are you, good morning Jessica — this is my second passion actually.”

As the bus lurched forward, Mosby was surprised to hear his actions stood out — although most shuttle drivers don't routinely call their riders their nieces and nephews.

“I’m just being me,” Mosby chuckled. “I like to treat people the way I want to be treated, for one. For two, being an entertainer, a musician, I feel everybody’s vibes … I just give everybody back what they’re giving me, and they give me a lot of love.”

Plaza passengers, he began to explain, treat him with respect. Impressed with how well-mannered and kind Plaza residents are, Mosby stopped himself yet again to address his riders.

“You all know I’m a musician right?” the speaker above his head crackled. The bus responded with nods and a few yeahs. “So I’m gonna ask y’all to do something for me before we get to this next stop. Can y’all help me sing a song — just one song?”

Mosby began to lead the bus in a rhythmic clap.

“You guys gave me a present, so I’m gonna give you a little something to start your morning.”

Mosby then broke into "I Feel Good"by James Brown, as passengers shyly supplied backup.

Often seen handing out fist bumps, high fives and handshakes to his students, Mosby hopes to be more than a shuttle driver, but a friend to the Knights he drives.

“I just wanna be able to help somebody if they need help — that’s all it’s about. Don’t nobody really know anybody, they come from all over the country to go to school here, and I’ve been in that situation myself … it’s a lonely world when you’re by yourself and I always wish I had somebody that I could’ve trusted [then].”

He left the Plaza residents with one piece of knowledge: “I’m your biggest fan, and I’m always gonna be there for you, all right?”

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Alissa Smith is the News Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @thealissasmith or email her at AlissaS@centralfloridafuture.com.

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