Monday, August 16, 2010

It's school bus time again

Hey! Are you listening to me? School is about to begin. That means school buses are going to be out on the road. Those big, yellow school buses carry our future leaders who will hopefully clean up the mess you and I have made of this planet. So be careful out there. We can’t afford to lose a one of them due to a senseless accident!

Besides, I’m driving one of those yellow school buses and having an accident would really ruin my day.

Yes, I’m proud to say that I’m a school bus driver. Not only that, but one of my riders gave me a certificate that says I’m the greatest bus driver in the world. She also gave me a tomato plant. The certificate is hanging up in my office. I ate the tomatoes.

Being an Award-Winning School Bus Driver is not all glamour and paparazzi. Yes, there are perks that come with the job (like fresh vegetables, and sometimes cookies), but with the perks comes a certain amount of responsibility.

Bus drivers have to be friendly and ready to wipe up liquid motion sickness at a moment’s notice. Bus drivers have to be welcoming, but ready to give students the “evil eye” when they’re not following the rules. Bus drivers have to understand a little bit of child psychology, be able to work under pressure, and have the ability to tune out distractions while keeping their eyes and ears open for Little Johnny who loves to use his markers to color on things – especially other riders.

And bus drivers have to watch out for other drivers who aren’t paying attention to the flashing lights that scream, “Stop, you idiot! Don’t you understand the future governor of Texas is on this bus? Holy Cow and take some Smart Pills!”

Driving a school bus is not for everybody. You have to be practically superhuman but without the cape and spandex. Not only that, the job doesn’t have the greatest of reputations. The buses rarely have air conditioning, they’re slow, the engines are loud, the brakes squeal, the children sometimes get noisy and obnoxious, and dealing with a bunch of hot, sweaty kids on a hot, sweaty day is worse than having a root canal without medication.

Other than that, it’s not too bad – especially if you have a “Little Emma” onboard.

“Mr. Bus Driver, why are you whistling? Whistling isn’t allowed on the bus,” said Little Emma.

“Who says whistling isn’t allowed on the bus?” I said.

“I did,” said Little Emma.

“You did? So, you mean when I’m happy, I can’t whistle?”

“Well, I guess I can make an exception,” she said, “but just this once.”

There are a lot of Little Emmas on every bus. There are also a lot of Jefferys, Allens, Beckys, Dylans and Cynthias. They all have plans for the future. They all want to make something of themselves. They all want to live long, productive lives and make a difference in the world around them.

Not a one of them wants to die in a bus accident due to our lack of paying attention or being careful.

So do us both a favor. If you see me coming down the road in a big yellow school bus, be extra cautious because you know Emma’s onboard and she wants to get home to see her parents and to play with her dog.

If you’re running late and you have the feeling I’m about to turn on my flashing lights and stop, don’t careen around me like a NASCAR driver. That’s just one more thing I have to worry about.

And if you see my red lights flashing and my “Stop” sign extended so you can read it, then READ IT! Stop means stop! Little Emma’s getting off my bus and if you endanger her in any way, I ain’t gonna be happy.

You have been warned!

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