Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Natural Consequences – Puke Girl and Poop Boy

Every now and then, I come across children that make me shake my head and wonder, “Why?” I am talking about children who insist on trying to be manipulative to get their own way. Now, most children have manipulative tendencies, but there are a few, such as Puke Girl and Poop Boy who take it to extremes.

Puke Girl is likely in the 4th grade and is a very bright child. She likes to make herself vomit in order to attain attention and to accomplish a couple missions. The first mission is to get off the bus as quickly as possible by vomiting so the bus driver has to call the school nurse, school nurse calls mom, mom comes and picks up the kid, no stinky bus ride home. Her other mission, should the first one fail, be that SHE be the FIRST child to be taken home by the bus driver, again using the vomiting as her excuse. The second scenario typically happens if the child happens to live towards the end of the route.

Poop Boy is a 7/8-year-old morbidly obese boy who is prone to tantrums if he does not get his way. He uses the same tactics as Puke Girl in order to garner attention. If he does not get his way (having a seat to himself, getting off the bus first) he throws a tantrum, huffs and puffs, and poops his pants. The result being a very stinky, tantrum-y child who still does NOT get his way.

Most children when legitimately sick, will have things they cannot control. Most of them don’t think about how they’re going to puke or poop today in order to get attention. I can usually tell those children who are legitimately sick as opposed to the others. Those kids who are legitimately sick typically look sicker than the fakers. They also will come up and tell you themselves instead of sending another student to do the “dirty work.” The main tell tale sign is that other students on the bus tend to roll their eyes at the offender as if to say “Oh not again!!”

I have developed a few tactics to deal with the “repeat” offenders. My first tactic in regards to pukers is no sympathy. I tell them to aim for the trashcan and if they miss the trashcan, they can be the ones to clean up the mess. My second tactic in regards to pukers is that when they are done, they can take and hold the plastic bag ALL the way home, and then they can be responsible for disposing of it. My third tactic is to not give into their demands. If they puke or poop, they get to sit in it or around it all the way home. I’m not going to reroute just to accommodate them. Insensitive yes, but it gets the point across especially on a very long bus ride.


The Bus Driver

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Police Escort, The Rodeo, and Screamer Boy

Last Thursday, we took the local elementary schools to a free rodeo put on by local rodeo enthusiasts who hold a rodeo every year. Last year, we went and the place was packed, but there was still plenty of seating for everyone. This year however, it seemed the crowd doubled and there was standing room only. People were parked every which way and it was near impossible to maneuver the 35+ buses that were assigned to transport students to and from the rodeo. Some of us even had to do double duty, myself included.

Because of this double duty and due to the location of the two schools I transported, the local sheriffs provided escorts to and from the rodeo, flashing lights and all. When we have police escorting us, it’s the only time we can LEGALLY go through stop signs and red lights. It freaked some of the teachers out that were riding with me when we came up on the first stop sign. It was also cool to be the last bus in line, radioing ahead for clearance (the police were listening to us), and seeing the cruisers come flying past us at 80+ mph to get to the next checkpoint to block traffic for us. All in all, a great use of police resources.

In other news, I get to go see Disney on Ice this year. I’ve heard its actually Nemo on Ice, so I get to see the little fishy skate. Again your tax dollars hard at work.

Next item of business, Screamer Boy. Screamer Boy is an obnoxious middle schooler who insists on making every bus drivers life a living hell. There are about a handful of kids on this same bus who are equally as obnoxious and when confronted about the deplorable behavior, these kids deny any involvement or any knowledge as to who it is that is being the most obnoxious. I drove the bus about 2 weeks ago and all of these kids (middle school AND high school) were extremely obnoxious and downright disrespectful. I even pulled over and demanded they stop the behavior at once and they got up in my face and demanded that I let them off and told me to basically go to hell in a nutshell. The kids even refused to get quiet at the railroad crossings which is required by LAW.

Screamer Boy insisted on screaming obnoxiously in short bursts the entire bus ride, getting on my nerves quite frankly, he almost caused me to have an accident SEVERAL times because of his screaming. If a kid screams, I’m trained to find the problem quickly as a kid may be in DANGER. This screaming was obnoxious and DELIBERATE. Screamer Boy got off at his stop (he was the only one at his stop) then turned and screamed at the bus deliberately in a motion as to say F-U B*tch. I made note of what he looked like and who it was.

I got sweet revenge last Thursday when again, I found myself driving the same bus. I pulled up at the middle school and Screamer Boy got on the bus. I told him flat out that he was going to sit in the front seat. He looked at me and said “You can’t make me sit in the front seat, and I’m not gonna sit in the front seat.” I think he said a few cuss words in my direction and was extremely disrespectful in tone. I called the principal over to the bus and explained the situation from two weeks ago. The principal called him to the front of the bus and requested that he follow my directions. He got very disrespectful and lippy with her and she told him that either he could follow my direction and sit in the front seat or find himself another ride home. He chose to get off the bus and find another ride home. Surprisingly with him off the bus, no one else acted out or was disrespectful. I believe the kid is probably the ringleader of this group and gets everyone started and then sits back and watches the bus driver go crazy. I suspect this because a fellow bus driver drove the route today and had the exact same problems as I did. The sad thing is, the route is all of 15-20 minutes once the kids are loaded from all the schools. They can’t seem to behave sometimes.

Zero Tolerance,

The Bus Driver

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The “Terrible” Weekend of Airports and Parades

In the past two days, I’ve had a whirlwind adventure after whirlwind adventure. On Saturday, I drove a lady to the airport, and then transported a different lady to her son’s home within the same town as the airport. Sunday found me going in the opposite direction with an ornery elderly gentleman who groused the whole 6 hour round trip drive. This weekend taught me one lesson, PATIENCE!

The drive to the airport on Saturday was relatively uneventful except for the 30 million and one questions both my passengers asked and constant repeated answers. We finally pulled into the airport after two hours of torture pleasant driving. The lady informs me that she will need assistance in the form of a wheelchair and luggage cart. I step out of the van to locate assistance and saw the curbside Delta kiosk. I walked up to the gentleman standing at the kiosk and politely requested assistance with my client. He scoffed and asked if she was flying Delta. I told him she was flying with a competitive airline, but that airline did NOT have a marked desk for curbside assistance. I asked him if he would be so kind as to radio or call someone to help my client. He told me, “I only work for Delta.” I reiterated my dilemma and requested assistance politely (though inside I was screaming JACKASS!) He replied again with, “I only work for Delta, you can go over there and ask for someone else to help you.” Then he pointed to the other kiosk about 40 feet down the sidewalk.

I went back to the bus and informed the lady very loudly (so everyone in the vicinity could hear me) that because the Delta employee was being a complete ASSHOLE that it would be a little longer until I could get her assistance off the bus. I FINALLY got information from a very nice security guard who was pacing the sidewalk and was able to flag a lady down to help my client. For those wondering I HAVE written to Delta about their employee’s poor attitude towards helping anyone.

My second client and I returned to the highway to travel down a few extra exits and just got off at the exit to her son’s home, when we ran into traffic. A school bus was blocking the road, and we couldn’t figure out why. I maneuvered the bus around and made a U-turn and tried to detour around the traffic jam. Turns out, there was a homecoming high school parade and we ended up getting a front row seat and watched as the parade made its way down the main section of town. We finally made it to her son’s house where he promptly tried to hit on me, though he could have just been really friendly. I deflected his advances but was eternally grateful when we left.

This morning (Sunday) I picked up an elderly gentleman and drove 2 hours one way, then sat and waited an hour while he loaded up the bus with junk from his storage warehouses. During the drive up to his warehouses, we talked about how terrible life was, how crooked people are, and how everyone is involved with drugs. I have renamed this guy Negative Ned. It was pure torture listening to this guy grouse about everything that was so terrible in life. He hates the government and just about anything that moves! I was glad when we rolled back into town!

Adventured Out!

The Bus Driver