And here I am not talking about the drivers. Oh no I am talking about the riders that come with us on the special needs bus. These people are the ones that take a huge share of the responsibility from the driver. They spend a lot more time with the kids then everyone knows and develop a different sort of relationship with the children. They are one of the first people who the child will see in the morning along with the driver and can set the whole day up for them. If they are in a bad mood the child will pick up on this and the whole day could be ruined. If they pick up on a good mood then the day could be one of a better ones.
My rider today needs to get an award for something and since i know that there isn’t one for this I will simply write about it and put the event out there so that someone reads this.
It was a fairly normal day, sun was shining, birds singing etc as we head out to collect the children for the day. All was good until we got to the half way point. The poor child that was getting on had to be dragged away from a puppy that he was playing with. He was not happy about this and started screaming and yelling at everyone near him. Parents had to drag him onto the bus and I was very close to telling them that I would not let him ride with us due to his behaviour but my rider sprung into action and started talking to him but not about the puppy. All through the trip she would talk to him about anything and everything that caught his eye. It kept his mind off the puppy and managed to calm him down within a few minutes. Even when she had to get up to help other children on she would always tell the child what she was doing and keep talking to him while she was making sure everyone had their seat belts on. When we finally reached the school he was the first to be offloaded and as we handed him over to the lady that would be working with him at the school my rider explained what happened during the ride in. The school worker was very understanding and continued to talk as they walked into the school.
At the end of the day I was waiting to load my children to take the tired boys and girls home and he was one of them. As he found his seat I asked the worker how his day had gone and if there was anything that we needed to look out for on the ride home.
“No nothing. He had a really good day today”
I was amazed. He was screaming, yelling and generally not happy on the way in but yet with a little bit of attention from my rider his day had gone from the possibility of a bad day to a good day. Its amazing what that can do.
I made sure that the following morning I told my rider what had happened and that he had a good day and she was very pleased. I have a lot of respect for anyone that chooses to ride the bus and look after these children. They do a wonderful job and can save someones day and yet these riders often do not get noticed and fall through the cracks.
I have had several in my time being a school bus driver and have had riders that go from one side to the other. I get riders that do not have any interest at all in the kids and have little to no interaction with the children all the way up to the one I have now that makes the trip to school fun.
To all the riders out there that care for the kids you transport. As a driver I want to say a very big “Thank You” i truly am thankful for all the hard work you do to make my job easier.