I’m not crazy about waking up at 4:37 every morning.
And sometimes I wish the schools would have a big sleepover so I could drop the kids off in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon of the next day.
Sometimes the kids rip the seats or shove chewing gum in the seat belt buckles.
Occasionally the little munchkins get so wild I have to pull over to regain control of the bus.
The job has its trying moments but it also has experiences like these that make it all worthwhile:
Two girls boarded the bus at 6:43 in the morning. They often ride in the afternoon but this was their first time riding the bus in the morning. They were excited to be the first ones to get picked up.
I was surprised to see them standing out there in the dark.
I said, “Hey, there are two girls who look a lot like you who ride in the afternoon! Their names are Anna and Maya.
The younger of the two said, “My name is Maya!”
Her sister said, “My name is Florence!”
Anna: Yes, Florence is the other me.
Me: You mean your alter ego?
Anna: My what?
Me: Your evil twin?
Anna: Yes, I’m my evil twin!
Me: What have you done with Anna?
Anna: I boiled her in a pot with little unicorns. Then I ate her up with delicious green goo!
Me: You ate the unicorns?!
Anna: No! I love unicorns. I did not eat them!
The next day Anna/Florence assured me that she did not eat the unicorns and that she was only half Florence.
As mentioned before the buses are tracked by GPS. Back at the office they can see where I am, where I was, how fast I’m going, etc. They can even see where and when I open the door. This feature is useful when a parent calls in to say the bus never showed up. The supervisor can check the GPS and say, “I’m sorry but the bus was at your stop at 7:23,” or they might say, “Gee, you’re right. It looks like Jimmy Joe burned right past your house at 87 mph!” (Hypothetical, of course. I don’t know of any school bus that can go that fast.) It’s a double edged sword and a useful tool in today’s world.
The drivers are encouraged to stop and open the door, even if nobody is there.
On my morning elementary route I always pull up to one particular stop with loading lights on, pop the brake and open the door. I then close the door and drive away.
One morning a child asked me why I always stop there when no one gets on.
I replied, “There’s an invisible boy who gets on at this stop.”
Without missing a beat, an eight year old girl named Sydney said, “His name is Bob. Hi, Bob! You can sit here with me.”
Sydney went on to explain that Bob spilled an entire bottle of potion on himself, hence the invisibility.
Now every morning when I pull up to that stop and open the door, two or three kids will say, “Good morning, Bob!”
We’ve also taken to calling him by his proper name, Invisibob.
I’ve learned from the kids that Bob has a younger sister named Invisabella and a dog called Invisibubba.
One of the students asked me if I knew Bob’s last name.
I said, “No, it was written in invisible ink.”
A seven year old boy, wise beyond his years boarded the bus one afternoon. He asked me how I was. I told him I could use a nap.
He put a hand on my shoulder and said, “I feel ya man, I feel ya.”
Then he looked at me as if he had some secret words of wisdom to share and he said, ” Word of advice… Don’t Freeze the Cheese!”
Have a spectabulous day and remember…
Don’t Freeze the Cheese!
Love your blog!!!!!!!!!
Jimmy Joe – your posts always make me laugh and smile at the same time. Thank you for always sharing your experiences and the brilliance that comes out of the mouths of children. Be well and keep the great posts coming.