A while back when I first started training we had a new trainee come through. She was an older lady, quiet, charming, and quite nice. Her first outing in the bus was with one of the other trainers, and somehow she got spooked when she had trouble getting the bus to stop when she braked, so she walked out. I was scheduled with her the next day, and we weren’t certain she was even going to show up. But she did. And she gamely got back behind the wheel and drove that bus like a real trooper!
I sat down and talked with her beforehand about how her first experience had gone. She was quite upset with herself and had this amazing inner determination to conquer that bus. We started off easy – all left turns through a quiet industrial area close to the yard. Then I introduced right turns. Round and round we went. Then I made the circle larger and we dealt with railway crossings. Then we went for a drive out in the country, and finally I took her to a quiet residential area – which scared the crap out of the poor thing. I think she was so relieved when the session was over!
However, she kept coming back. And she learned all the names of the evil engine parts that we have to check on our circle checks. And she mastered the steps for the railway crossings. And she mastered the procedures for picking up and dropping off students. And every day I saw her confidence grow and her determination never waver. And then while I was on holidays, one of the other trainers texted me to tell me that that sweet lady had passed both her written and her road tests! And I was so thrilled for her that I nearly cried.
There was a bit of a delay with her license as her MTO vision test revealed she needed glasses to drive, but today when I was in the office she was at the counter picking up her work for next week. And then I heard her on the radio tonight calmly talking to base about a problem she was having on her bus with a student. You’d have thought by her voice that she’d been doing this for years. And I am so proud of this lady, and so happy for her. She took a bad experience and turned it around and came out on top.
This, my friends, is why I became a trainer.