My longtime readers remember some older posts in the Tales from the bus series, valuable illustrations that came from work experience. Here is a recent addition.
A few weeks ago, a driver came in after their afternoon route and complained their bus was making a clicking sound in the left front end when making sharp left turns. I agreed to go take a look before calling maintenance and quipped it was probably nothing more than a rock stuck in the tire treads.
After strolling across the bus lot to the bus in question, I bent over to run my hand around the tire, looked down, and my jaw hit the ground!!!
Seven of the ten lug nuts were loose!! Some were backed off by as much as 1/3+ of an inch!! Wowsers!! How in the world?! My mind raced as I called maintenance to get a service truck over. I know the driver does a twice a day walk around inspection, I’ve witnessed it on multiple occasions. I’ve been by that bus dozens of times and so has the fuel guy. How had we missed this?
Ultimately, we found multiple dropped balls in the maintenance and inspection chain and numerous of us were culpable to varying degrees. By Yah’s grace, there had not been a disaster with a bus load of kids.
What did I determine was the major problem? ~All of us looking, but not seeing. Essentially, we were going through the motions of a visual check, turning our head and eyes to the right places, but habit was blinding us. We were not seeing what we were supposed to be looking at.
It occurs to me that we do that so often with Scripture. We look at it and think we know what it says, so we don’t see what it actually says, yet we are accountable! I’m guilty. I can go through the motions and see only what I want to see, or what doctrinal filters tell me to see.
Our prayer should be that Abba open our eyes and show us truth. We must ask Him to remove blinding traditions and doctrines that we see what is actually written!
Jackson*, a fourth grade student on my bus, has been a bit of a handful lately. More than a few times in recent weeks I have had to talk to his school principal for various infractions on the bus, from wrestling and punching to using inappropriate language, etc. He is fairly new to the school having moved into the area about eight weeks ago.
Today was a banner day… As one student exited the bus, he related that Jackson had punched him in the gut. Another relayed that Jackson had used the ‘s’ word. I had enough and stopped the bus.
After calling Jackson to the front seat, I moved everyone else back a couple of rows to create a buffer zone and effectively isolate him. He fell right to sleep.
I drove on, dropping students and pondering what to do. I really wanted to drop the hammer on him, but my bus is brand spanking new and no camera has been installed yet. It would be his word against his accusers. He is my last stop each afternoon so I had time to think.
As I rolled away from my next to last stop a still small Voice said, ‘Encourage him.’
‘What?’ Continue reading “Tales from the Bus. Mercy.”
I got emotional this morning as I picked up a new 2nd or 3rd grade passenger, a smiling chap named Wilfredo.
Just yesterday afternoon, the second day of school, I was introduced to this young immigrant from Guatemala who speaks not a word of English! Apparently, the previous day he had accidentally gotten on the wrong bus and had no clue how to communicate anything, never-mind his new address, etc to the new bus driver. After he wound up at the bus office with frantic parents and school officials trying to sort the situation, you can imagine why yesterday the whole family was standing in front of the house, visibly relieved, when I dropped him off at the right place and time. Smiles, waving and the littlest children leaping for joy. Wilfredo was home!!!
I was an immigrant once. Growing up as the eldest son of missionaries in the jungles of South America, I remember not knowing anyone, the language, culture, etc. I learned, but it took time and I never felt like I fit in. Even today, being a ‘third culture kid,’ I never feel quite like I fit in, so my heart really went out to Wilfredo as he boarded my bus. Brave!
“Buenos dias, Como le va?” I greeted and he replied, amazed as are a few other Hispanics on my bus that I speak semi-fluent Spanish with a correct accent. I am so glad that I can help him adjust and feel safe and secure in this transition.
After I dropped him off, as we began rolling I was suddenly overwhelmed with emotion Continue reading “Tales from the Bus. Wilfredo.”
Thursday was an icky day. No two ways about it!
I drove a field trip to Columbia and may as well have been at the helm of a submarine… so much so that a teacher had to use an umbrella IN the bus to stay dry! That bad! But I’ll save that story.
As I was making my afternoon run, I was dropping one little girl whose parents always meet her at the stop. In fact, one is with her every morning as well, physically picking her up and putting her on the first step of the bus, or lifting her from the bottom step. As yesterday would have it, in the fading light rain, we arrived at her stop with nobody waiting, so she hops off the bus and begins running toward the house and I thought, ‘Good for her! Standing on her own two feet.’
Just as I began to pull away I saw dad sprint from the house with a jacket, throw it over the little girls head, presumably so she wouldn’t melt, and scoop her up to carry her the remaining ten yards to the porch.
I thought, ‘They are so going to make her into a prima dona. Continue reading “Tales from the Bus. Parenting.”
This morning was particularly foggy! I’ve had several such mornings, but for whatever reason, today I felt much more vulnerable as I strained to see past the end of the hood. I found myself wishing for a nice bus route through town with all the attendant street lights and fairly well marked intersections.
Out in the country, there are multiple turns that are hard enough in the reduced visibility of darkness, but with the pressing fog, I felt myself desiring a really long red-tipped cane or a seeing-eye dog to hang out of my window…. to no avail.
At one place on my route, I have a very dark hard left-hand turn that drops off on a single paved track between heavy trees and a massive stone sign. What I would do for some light offering security as I drop into the grade and hold my breath waiting for the headlights to sweep and catch up, confirming the pavement that I know is there, but can’t see. (Who is the knucklehead that put the kibosh on Tucker’s invention of headlights that follow the steering wheel?? Okay, so it wasn’t entirely Tucker’s idea, but that is another story..)
And, as I make the turn with some trepidation, I think of ‘faith.’ Continue reading “Tales from the Bus: Fog and Faith”
A day or two ago I shared that I drive a school bus. I also mentioned that it leads to some stories… While many I cannot tell, for privacy reasons, there are some I can share. Here is one…
My boys’ music teacher heard that I drive a school bus for elementary children. He had two nice small coats and thought that there may be a student or two who could use them. My wife accepted them and brought them home to be laundered before gifting them.
Two days ago, I took them with me for the afternoon run and was praying on the way to work asking Father who I should give them to. I could not think of any child getting on the bus without a jacket, but then, I have been so busy learning other things as I adjust to the route that those details may have escaped me. So, as I am praying a particular family comes to mind, but I really puzzled over how to give them the jackets without showing favoritism. There are many needy families on my route.
Once on the bus, with the jackets, I headed to the school where I pick-up and, as is my usual habit, I arrive 20 minutes early so I can read and study. While sitting in the lot, I ‘chickened out’ on giving the jackets to the family in mind and decided Continue reading “Tales from the Bus. A Gift.”
To make ends meet, I supplement our family income by driving a school bus for the local public school system. I finished training late last year and have a CDL B license with most of the ‘bells and whistles’ and all of the extra responsibility. For the last couple months I have been a regular substitute, but have recently inherited a route.
Typically, I am out of bed at 4:30 a.m. and in the lot warming up my bus by 5:25. Roll at 5:43 so I can hit my first stop at 6:08. Have them at school at 7:25 and park the bus back at the main terminal by 7:45. The afternoon begins around 1:50 and I get home by 5 o’clockish.
My route is very specific with particular procedures at every single stop, particular timing parameters and safety actions. Add the constant attention to students in establishing and maintaining discipline and safety for 50+ grade schoolers, and it is a recipe for myriad problems.
Over my head as well as midway back on the bus are cameras that capture audio and video. They are connected to an on-board GPS connected computer that tracks Continue reading “The Camera and the Torah”