June 1, 2015
By Marc Bussanich
Brooklyn, NY—Almost seven years after Edwin Thomas was tragically slain by a passenger while driving his bus in Brooklyn, family members, MTA officials and TWU Local 100 leaders and members gathered on Friday in Flatlands to honor Mr. Thomas by co-naming East 49th Street “Edwin Thomas Way.”
He worked out of the Flatbush Bus Depot, which sits at the corner of East 49th Street, which also bears a plague bearing his smiling face. On December 1, 2008 a passenger who didn’t pay his fare asked Thomas for a transfer. When Thomas told him no because he didn’t pay for the ride, the passenger first struck him in the head and then fled. But the passenger returned, pushing his way through the door and fatally stabbing Mr. Thomas.
In the accompanying video, we interviewed Mr. Thomas’s daughter, Edley, who spoke eloquently about her father during the ceremony just before she and her brother helped unveil the street sign that now bears her father’s name.
We asked her what was the most inspiring moment of the ceremony to honor her father.
“The most inspiring was to see everybody coming out to support and recognize my father as being the bus driver that fought for his community and did everything that he was supposed to,” said Edley Thomas.
When it was time for she and her brother to speak on stage about their father, she told the audience that at first they wanted to write a speech down on paper but soon realized that it would be better to speak about their father from the gut.
“Once I got on stage I completely froze because I wanted to say more things. But everyone was here to celebrate my dad and that was the best part.”
She said that many of her father’s passengers enjoyed his personality.
“My dad used to pick me up to ride with him on the B46 and he would tell jokes. Everybody adored him because he was a beautiful man and he made people laugh.”
She’s proud that East 49th Street is now also “Edwin Thomas Way.”
“This means everything to me, because I went through this journey, along with TWU [Local 100], to make this happen [by] going to meetings with the Mayor so that he could approve it was the most amazing thing I did in my life just for my father,” said Edley Thomas.