My children ride the school bus every day. After years of sitting in the car line and balancing preschool and childcare calendars, the school bus feels like a miracle. All I have to do is get my kids out the door, and someone will pick them up AND bring them back home?!?! No traffic, no fuss. I don’t have to get dressed. Seriously, it is the best thing ever.
I know that other people in our district have trouble with their bus drivers, but not us. Mr. Coleman has been our driver for two years, and he is an absolute dream. He pulls up to the curb each morning, on time, with a huge grin on his face, waving to my kids and wishing them a good morning. He chats with me and wishes me a good day while my kids sit down, then off they go. Then, after school, he drives up on time, again with a smile, and says goodbye and waves until the next morning. In bad weather, he sits at the curb and beeps for us, because he knows we wait in the house. On mornings that we run late, he waits at the curb and beeps a few times to let us know he’s there. He drives safely. When my kids forget something on the bus, he always takes care of it until we see him the next day. He throws a pizza party for the kids, on the bus, on the last day of school. He pays for the food and cleans up after, all on his own. We are so thankful for him!
Last week, Mr. Coleman disappeared. On Wednesday morning, the bus never came. The same happened on Thursday and Friday. After school, my children usually arrive home at 4:00. Without Mr. Coleman, my kids got home after 5:00. The substitute drivers would not make eye contact with me, did not speak to me or my kids, and drove away. I called the bus garage to find out why the bus wasn’t coming, why it was late, and what I could do. I had been late to work three days in a row because the bus didn’t come. I had worried about my children when they arrived home an hour late with no explanation or call.
On Monday, the morning bus finally came, but 30 minutes late. On Tuesday, it came 20 minutes late. Both days, the driver started driving while my kids were in the aisle, and I saw my kindergartener pitch around. That made me nervous. I was despairing of ever being to work on time ever again…until after school yesterday, when I caught sight of the bus coming down the road at its usual time.
The bus door opened to reveal the smiling face of Mr. Coleman! I was so relieved, I started waving and grinning. I told him how much we missed him, and he laughed. He didn’t offer an explanation of where he’d been, and I didn’t need one. I was so relieved to see him back in our life!
Mr. Coleman, thank you for being punctual. Thank you for driving safely with my babies each morning. Thank you for cheerfully greeting my children and myself. Thank you for your reliability, for your compassion, and for doing a tough job with a smile. Please, don’t leave us ever again!