SELFLESS: Michael Myvett was a father-figure to his siblings, a therapist to autistic children in his occupation and a chaperone many high school students looked up to. (Photo Courtesy of Family)
‘Michael Myvett grew up defeating the odds’
Anyone who has spent any time at all with Michael Myvett, knows about his grandmother. From friends to coworkers, to the students who were in his charge, Michael told everyone about his loving 62-year-old grandmother Ms. Debra Loyd, who raised him and his brother as sons (regaling them with stories they couldn’t forget). And at the vigil held in memory of Myvett’s passing, it was the outpouring of love from people she’d never met that helped comfort Loyd.
“People were coming up to me saying, ‘you must be Grandma. Michael told us all about you,” remembered Loyd of the difficult time following her grandson’s tragic death.
Myvett was killed in the bus crash that made national headlines in April when a FedEx truck collided with a charter bus full of high schoolers headed to Humboldt State University. Myvett, a 2007 graduate of Humboldt State, was a chaperone on the trip and a veteran of the journey. This was his sixth trip, one that he made annually chaperoning potential students to his alma mater.
“Michael looked forward to this trip every year. He loved it,” explained a grieving Loyd.
Michael Myvett (Photo Courtesy of Facebook)
Myvett, was the first grandchild of Loyd and he began his life defeating the odds. He grew up in South Central Los Angeles and Loyd, who was his legal guardian, made sure he didn’t succumb to a life of gang-banging and crime. As the oldest of three boys (18 year old Bill and 11 year old Rothell) to a single mother struggling with drug addiction and criminal history, Myvett’s Godfather Dr. Dyke Redmond, says Myvett became a rock for the family, always portraying a fatherly role to his younger brothers.
“Michael really raised the boys, he disciplined them. He was the man of the house, the father, Redmond said.
“He had joy, brought so much happiness to the whole entire family,” Loyd said.
Myvett’s younger brother Bill, who was seventeen at the time, was supposed to go on that fatal trip. However, their grandmother had been feeling ill at the time and Bill decided to stay at home instead.
“Michael said he wanted [Bill] to go up with him to see what Humboldt was all about and he told Michael that he wanted to stay with Granny,” Loyd said.
As if the loss of Myvett wasn’t heartbreaking enough, the trip would also take the life of his fiancée, Mattison Haywood whom he had just proposed to in December in Paris, France. Loyd says she was happy that Haywood had gone on the trip with her grandson and recalls dropping them both off at the bus station, which would be the last time she would see them.
LOVE: Michael Myvett had just proposed to Mattison Haywood in Paris, France in December. (Photo Courtesy of Family)
“I had taken Michael and Mattison to the [Union] bus station and the lady told me I could only go so far with them…So Michael told me, he said, ‘Bye Granny, I love you and I’ll see you on Sunday.’ Mattison said, ‘Bye Gran Gran, I love you, I’ll see you on Sunday,” Loyd said.
After dropping the two off, she had to go back home to get his two younger brothers ready for school. Later that day, she ran some errands and came home to relax. Around 5pm, she would receive a call from a friend who had watched the news and saw reports of a bus crash. She told Loyd to turn on the news to see for herself.
“I turned the news on and I seen all of these numbers and I just jumped up and started taking numbers. And then I started calling and the lines were busy. I finally got through and they told me they couldn’t tell me anything.”
Myvett and Haywood had traveled on a third bus heading to Humboldt, so Loyd was confused as to if it was indeed their bus that had been in the accident.
“I didn’t know what was going on,” Loyd said. “I kept calling his phone and his brother Bill kept texting him. And we couldn’t get through no kind of way.”
It would take 24 hours of anxiously waiting to hear more news, when Loyd says finally she received a call from Red Cross.
“Finally someone called [from Red Cross] and said [they think] Michael and Mattison were on the bus together and that was the bus. So I started crying and I made sure that the family, my two other grandkids realized what had happened to Michael,” she said.
And now, nearly a month and a week from the accident that claimed the precious lives of Myvett and Haywood, Loyd says she is leaning on family to cope with the tragic accident.
“I have my grandson’s Godfather. He has been the biggest part in my family. He always has been. Before Michael passed away, he told me, ‘Granny, you did a good job of finding me a fabulous Godfather and Godmother, Godgrandmother, Godgrandfather, Godgranduncle,” Loyd recalls.
He had just turned 29 in March and was a behavioral therapist at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders in Torrance, CA where Loyd says Michael was able to help tremendously with parents of autistic children the two years that he worked there. Loyd says kids on the bus described Myvett as “the best chaperone ever” and that he spent a lot of time talking to them about his grandmother and how he met his fiancée. She says that one thing gives her peace in this tragic accident.
“I know my baby was with Mattison. He left the house with Mattison, he got on the bus with Mattison and he was with Mattison until the end. And that’s what I’m feeling so happy about, that him and Mattison took this trip together and they left together,” Loyd tearfully said.
Brandon I. Brooks, Sentinel Managing Editor and Kenneth Miller, Sentinel Assistant Managing Editor contributed to this story.