Thursday, September 5, 2013

On the First Day of School, My Boss Gave to Me

Thursday I drove a school bus. This isn’t really a revelation, since many of you know that during the school year I work three jobs and one of them is driving school bus. Today was also the first day of school, which means lots of frustrated parents, teachers, bus drivers, and administrators.

In the morning I rode along with a new driver, but in the afternoon I had my very own route. Well, since I am only a substitute driver, I never really have my own route. I simply borrow someone else’s route for a short time and give it back when they want it back.

The afternoon’s run started out dreadfully. I was assigned my route and went to the file cabinets where the information on all the routes are kept. I found the folder for the route I was assigned to and it was empty. That could be good or bad. It could mean that there really wasn’t anywhere for me to go, or it could mean that I had to guess. Not sure which it was, I did the unfathomable, I checked with my boss.

That was a mistake.

Apparently, there wasn’t a regular driver for that run. The paperwork hadn’t been completed. And no one was sure where the bus actually was and the students needed to be picked up from school in 30 minutes. With amazing speed, I wrote out the directions, found the bus, and made it to the school with time to spare.

My first school was an elementary school. I got all the students delivered in a timely fashion and without incident. My next route was a middle school after school run. I figured this one would be easy, since the pupils were older and more mature. I got to the first stop, at the corner of Trig Terrace and Chemistry Lane. I opened the doors and announced where we were. Nothing. No one moved. So I started on and asked the students if anyone was on the bus for the next few stops. I was ecstatic since there were quite a number of stops I could skip.

After I reached the halfway point in the trip a young scholar approached me and said, “I think I missed my stop, I needed to get off at Trig Terrace and Chemistry Lane.” I smiled politely and said, “Yes, you did, but have no fear, I shall safely convey you back to your appointed stop.” Or something like that.

I was disappointed the run was going to take me a little bit longer than it should, but it wasn’t a big set back, and I could recover. I was heading to my last stop at the wild west side of the district, when the student, who had told me she lived on a corner of English Road, suddenly exclaimed, “Bus Driver! You have gone the wrong way. I live at 131 English Road and that house number is 3163.”  That was on the far eastern side of the district.

She had gotten on the wrong bus. But all was still not lost. I turned the bus around and on my way back to the totally opposite side of the world, I dropped the forgetful, and apparently deaf, and most likely blind, student off at the corner of Trig Terrace and Chemistry Lane.

It soon became apparent that my last student had great confidence in her non-existent geography prowess. As we traveled down Mt Read and when we reached English Road, the road she lived on, and only a few blocks from her house, I asked, “Does anything look familiar?”

She looked out the window and read the road sign. “Oh, Mt Read, you are close, but you need to keep going straight.” I almost lost it. Not in a bad way, but I almost laughed out loud at the young lady. Although we had come from a different direction, this was the intersection she had been describing for the past few minutes, using phrases like, “I am an expert on my street and how it looks” and “when we are close, I will be able to give you directions.”

I turned down English Road and the student said, “This looks kind of familiar.” Then she saw a street sign. “Wait, there is a road just like that near my house. Oh, look, that's my house!”


  1. Oh, the joy of adolescence! I'm so glad I don't have your job.

    Thanks for giving me a laugh today!

    1. I have three jobs and each of them has their moments of hilarity.
      I am glad sharing this one gave you a chuckle.

    2. LOL you are driving in my district! I know the names of all the streets you mentioned. I'll keep my ears alert for my son mentioning his substitute bus driver this year.

  2. Hilarious. Even my 17 year old's friends that DRIVE don't know any street names. They go to the intersection where their little brother took Karate, turn left, go one street past where Josh McCann lives and turn left again.

    That's probably why they're not allowed on buses.

    Great post.

    Laura Hedgecock
    or @LauraLHedgecock on twitter

    1. My mother gives directions like that. This girl was trying too as well, I didn't add those details. It seemed to make it too confusing. At least she knew her house number.

  3. Thanks for making me laugh. Reminds me of a few stories my friend (who also drives a school bus) has told me. School bus drivers deserve a medal for their patience!