Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Bus Driver From Hell

Back to school. The time of year that parents everywhere have been counting down towards for the past several weeks. Not because we don't love our kids, but because we have been so busy caring for their every. single. desire for so long that now we need a breather.

photo courtesy of Rawich at freedigitalphotos.net
Sure, I have joked with the best of them about how much I want, no NEED, my kiddos to head back to school (and I certainly meant it at least half of the time!) But the reality is, as much as I need some sane time to refresh, and clean this giant pit-hole-of-a-house, I do miss them during the day and want for them to be safe. They are my babies. I am excited right alongside them. I cry for them when they hurt. I am scared for them, which brings me to today's topic: school buses.

Riding the school bus is a necessity in our house. My husband and I both work outside of the home, making it near impossible to shuttle our four children (in three different schools with different school hours) back and forth to school each day. And so, each morning, we entrust our children's lives into the hands of another human being. The bus driver.

Now, I don't envy that job for one single second. Just the mere thought of a vehicle full of excited, screaming, sometimes crying children makes me cringe. It certainly takes a certain (very brave) type of person to tackle that challenging job.

And I respect that.

With that being said, it is my opinion that is a person can not handle those types of situations with finesse (and an obscene amount of patience that I do not possess) than maybe the job of bus driver is not a good fit. It is not like that is the only job in the world. There are plenty more to choose from, and we live in a country where we are allowed the luxury of choosing.

This is why I cannot seem to wrap my head around the fact that for the past several years we have been un-blessed with a HORRIBLE bus driver. She is rude. She is mean. She starts each day with a scowl and a gruff "Hurry up and sit down" and ends it with the same. And no amount of my kindness has been able to change it.

She is The Grinch of the bus garage.

Now, before you think I am just exaggerating, let me tell you how I know she is so horrible. Three years ago, she literally shut me in the bus door.

Let that sink in. SHUT. ME. IN. THE. DOOR. OF. HER. BUS.

After pulling in to the bus stop at the end of the day, she kept the bus door shut and was yelling at the kids. I could hear her from my apartment, which is around 100 feet from the bus stop. I proceeded to walk to the bus stop and patiently wait for her to open the bus door, which took her another five minutes, during which, she continued to scream at the children on the bus. Upon opening the door, I approached the bus stairs and kindly asked "Is there a problem on the bus today?" to which she proceeded to scream at me about how awful my children are. This took me aback, because even though they can be a challenge at home, they are always good at school. So, I apologized for her frustrations and nicely asked her to "Please refrain from screaming at my children on the bus. If they are challenging you, please let ME know and we will handle it appropriately at home." Apparently that statement sent this loon over the edge, because she shut the door, while I was still standing in it, put the bus into gear, and started to drive off. I had to JUMP out of the way!

That whole debacle turned into a FULL YEAR of us battling the bus garage, because the bus tapes "mysteriously" dissappeared from that day, and we ended up driving our children to and from school daily for the rest of the school year. At the end of that school year, we were told by the bus garage that she had been "disciplined" and our children should be fine on the bus.

The following year, we put our children back on the bus, only to have another issue. This time, she yanked my daughter back onto the bus by her backpack when she tried to exit the bus while being bitched out. And again, the tapes magically were not working that day. It took us several months, AGAIN, to battle the bus garage, and after threats of a lawsuit, we were given a new bus driver and a new bus route.

Finally, we felt peace about our children riding the school bus.

This year, our youngest child starts kindergarten. What a magical time of our lives! It should be exciting to see her skip to the bus stop, braids swinging. It was exciting this morning as I walked her to the bus stop for the very first day of school.

Until the bus pulled in and we saw that same grumpy-faced bus driver of our nightmares sitting behind the wheel.

Here's to hoping that we have a fun and safe school year. But if we don't, I won't be dealing with an extremely unhelpful and unjust bus garage this time around. This year, Momma Bear has her claws out.

And the police department on speed dial.

Do your kids have to ride a school bus? How do you feel about that? Share your stories with me!

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