Wednesday, August 17, 2011

When your best isn't good enough

Moral of this story: Do never, in no way, ever, mess with my kids.

Go ahead, jump to conclusions, but I'll bet you'll empathize once I tell you what my son went through yesterday.

**Today, I'm not posting about books or writing or sex or anything close to self promotion. No eye candy. No sarcasm or any of my awesome wit, no. Today, I'm speaking from a place I seldom go for fear of my own passion. Just thought I'd throw in that disclaimer before I get started.

Yesterday was my sons' first day of school this year. Huge change for all of us: one in elementary and now one in middle school. That means both are alone each day, all day, in a brand new school that no one, not even the teachers are familiar with, and of course, different bus schedules for each kid. Gotta grow up some time, right?

So, the eleven year old is a little nervous with all the "newness". Understandable. I agree to meet the bus driver with him, find out his new schedule, maybe ease his mind a touch on his first day of school. Just great: We discover we have a new bus driver too!

Here's the conversation that took place:

"Morning. What time do you think you'll be back this way for the middle schoolers?"

"I dunno, it's my first day."

(Now, we live two miles from elementary school this driver is taking kids to first. Ours is the next to last stop on her route. I'm mentally calculating what I believe is a fair time, but I don't know what time the kids are supposed to be to school, maybe this driver has time to stop for breakfast? I don't know all the factors, so I ask. Again. A little more informed this time.)

"I understand it's your first day." [insert phony smile] "The school's two miles away, we're almost the last stop; Can you give me a rough estimate maybe? Maybe fifteen minutes, twenty? Half an hour? An hour?"

"I don't know! It's my first day!!!"

I felt my eyes go wide, heard in a very stressed voice inside my head "O....K....," and I turned around with a curt thanks [for nothing], determined to come home, call transportation, and get this incompetent a**hat wrote up.

I mean, c'mon, MY kids are on 'your' bus... I want to be sure 'you' can be trusted with my most valued things in my life, and all 'you' show me is that 'you' can't control your temper FIRST THING IN THE MORNING? What's the rest of the day going to be like for this person? My only thought.

We notice one of my son's friends waiting for the same bus, so I let him go and wait with his friend while I drive back up the hill to call.

No surprise here: transportation isn't answering the phones... Typical. I vow not to give up until they've heard about one of their driver's incompetence in handling both her job and the customer, moi, and my most precious cargo...

Suddenly, our dog raises hell...I look out the window to see my son tearing up the driveway. "What the hell's goin' on?"

Winded, he braces his knees [we live 1/4 mile off hwy]. "She left us... She drove right by, turned, and went toward the school!"

Murderous intention danced like sugarplums across my mind. You What? You left my kid? Like hell!

Needless to say, I floored it all the way to school, got him there in thirty minutes, got back home, made up my mind to put phone on rapid dial until I got through to transportation.


Transportation didn't pick up their phone, not once all day! [You can bet your sweet a** I'll be on that phone all day today also]

But the fun doesn't end here.

Oh, no.

My youngest calls me at work--at 5:22 pm-- "Have you heard from--?"

WHAT? "He's not home?!"

Ok. Quick brain calculation again... 1. driver's incompetent; 2. driver's got an attitude problem; 3. driver doesn't know her route; 4. driver would rather get angry than find solution = son will be late getting home.  I figure about an hour, maybe a little longer.

He got out of school at 3:30!

The rest of my afternoon was consumed with panic, swearing--LOTS of swearing, walking out at work [literally, just walked out the doors, hopped in my Jeep, peeled out of the lot], driving across town to a school I expect to find completely dark at 5:30 at night, found a most gracious and most helpful vice principal in a lone little office off Administration, who was a true people person and dropped all her responsibilities and tried everything in her power to help me find my son... and a brief loss of hope when even she could not get a hold of transportation and I was going to have to jet across town the other direction to get there before they locked up for the night and the whole time HOPE my son was still on the bus?

I called home one last time.

My son picked up the phone. "I'm home finally. Got here at 5:44."

I couldn't speak much; think I got out a "good, love you," and a "bye."

Neither my son nor I will go through this again. Ever.

I'll be back on that phone today, but I won't mess with calling transportation, no. You had your chance to satisfy this "customer" and failed. I'll be on the phone to the district superintendent, and I won't stop until I get the results I seek. I'm sorry for your shiny new bus on your shiny new route and your shiny new job, Ms. incompetent bus driver, but when it comes to MY kids, your best wasn't good enough.

Bryl R. Tyne is a wrangler by nature and a writer by choice, published with Noble Romance Publishing, Ravenous Romance, Dreamspinner Press, STARbooks Press, Untreed Reads Publishing, Changeling Press, and Amber Quill Press. Check out Bryl's bi-monthly column: My Way   Find out more about the author at:
This post is X-posted to Bryl R Tyne's Blog and The Rainbow Studio.


  1. Oh hell naw! I would've gone off on the bus driver the MINUTE she gave me attitude but then again, my Latina temper has two settings, "happy" & "back the fuck up". We've had similar issues with transportation in the past and I'm dreading oldest son's first day in high school on Monday. As a special ed kid he gets the bus regardless of how far away from the school we live but we've had issues with them in the past. Both hubby and I are taking the day off to make sure we can get through it without killing or maiming anyone.

  2. My thoughts are with you, Sarita. I never expected this kind of treatment from a person with children in her care. We've gone through a few bus drivers over the years, but the one thing that is so different is this: When asked "What time do you expect to be here this afternoon?" the other drivers ALL replied with something similar to: "Don't you worry, your kids are safe on my bus" before telling me they were not sure.

    My level of concern would've been decreased by at least half yesterday had this one also cared enough to provide that assurance.

  3. What an experience! You just keep making noise until someone listens.