As part of my afternoon bus run I have a leg out of a local Catholic high school. For the most part, they’re pretty good kids, with one or two exceptions. And one of those exceptions has been driving me ballistic for the past two weeks, throwing things out the windows, yelling out the windows, and in one case causing students from another high school to retaliate by throwing a rock at the bus. I was not impressed. When this happens, all windows on the offending side of the bus must be closed. End of discussion.
Today I was sitting at a stoplight and another bus pulled up beside me and of course my little-monster-who-should-know-better started yelling out the windows at the riders. Then the other driver radioed me to let me know some stuff had been thrown out the windows. I’d had it. I turned the corner, pulled over, stood up and let them have it. I told them I expected better of them, they know I won’t tolerate that sort of thing, they are high school students and I expect them to behave like the almost-adults that they are! I informed them that if, between now and the end of the year one solitary thing is thrown out the window, I will see every single one of the kids from the back of the bus in the principal’s office. I asked if I had made myself clear and got a few murmurs and some nods. I sat back down and pulled away from the curb. It was real quiet on the bus.
Now, all these kids get off at the same stop. I pull up and a plethora of high school students swarms all over the road and sidewalk. Some of them cross in front, some walk towards the back, some stand around and say goodbye. And as always, this is what happened today. Nothing out of the ordinary until I heard a commotion at the back of the nearly empty bus. I had been watching the kids get off and keeping an eye on traffic, so I had missed the incident unfolding at the back.
It seems one of my intrepid young men decided it would be a good idea to ride his skateboard up the aisle of the bus. Yes, you read that right. Ride his skateboard up the aisle of the bus. I certainly hope this young man is not planning on attempting to get into university. Even my kindergarten kids could tell him that this was not a good idea. And as expected, it went horribly wrong. He lost his balance, his feet went out from under him, and the skateboard flew backwards, crashing into the glass in the bottom half of my back door, smashing it to smithereens. He was unhurt, and came slowly to the front of the bus, to the jeers and catcalls of the kids outside.
“Um, the window back there is kinda broken.”
I looked in my mirror. “Yes. I see that. It is indeed broken. Would you like to tell me what happened?”
“Um, I was gonna ride my skateboard up the aisle and I kinda fell.”
“And the skateboard broke the window?”
“Yeah. Am I gonna be in trouble?”
“Well, that kind of depends on the principal. I’ll have to write a bus report. What’s your name?” (He’s been riding since the middle of the year, and I never caught his name)
He told me his first name
“And your last name?”
He mumbled his last name.
“Well, I just want to thank you for your honesty in telling me exactly what happened.”
“Um, is there anything I should do now?”
“Well, unless you know how to replace window glass in a bus, there’s really nothing you can do.”
He looked at me funny, like he was trying to figure out if I was making a joke. I took pity on him.
“I’ll just pull off round the corner and call the office to bring me a spare bus. I don’t think I can drive this with the window like that.”
“Um, ok. Um. I’m sorry.”
And I did just that. A spare bus was rushed out to me, and I managed to run my route only eighteen minutes late. And you can believe that young man is shaking in his shoes tonight wondering what’s going to happen when I hand in this bus report!
The moral of the story? It is never a good idea to ride a skateboard in the aisle of a bus. Just in case you were thinking you might….