Did you thank a school bus driver? – The gallery
According to CNN, fears of a pandemic and rising unemployment benefits have left the country facing a severe shortage of qualified school bus drivers.
The problem is acute, although the districts carry out recruitment drives, offer sign-up bonuses and even rig the standards. (“Question one. Fill in the blank: the wheels of the bus are spinning and …” “Wait, wait. Don’t tell me. Got it. Round and … covered in glitter!”)
Hopefully, the shortage will prompt society to stop taking bus drivers for granted. (I know I’m right behind the drivers.
Especially when I’m in a rush to get somewhere and it seems like in every other house the whole von Trapp family singing team is dragging itself to the bus. â€œClimb all the mountainsâ€¦ miss all the appointmentsâ€¦â€ But I digress.)
Driving a school bus is still largely thankless work, even in districts where the school board publicly recognizes the drivers. (“Let’s hear it for our drivers. We can’t do without it. Next order of the day. We have a new low offer on urinal cakes. Urinal cakes: we can’t do without it.”)
No matter how much new hired drivers love kids, once behind the wheel, they revert to their childhood mantra: â€œI scream, you scream, we all scream forâ€¦ no apparent reason. Hey, why is the driver always singing “99 Tylenol bottles on the wall”? “
The stressful jobs of bus drivers remind me of Ann Richards’ quote “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did.” She just did it backwards and in high heels.
Likewise, a bus driver does a lot of things that a school principal does, only when he is carrying 10 tons of metal in heavy traffic.
Yes, bus drivers are trapped in a work environment where rubber bands and paper soccer balls fly freely, where # 2 pencils are irresistibly drawn to major arteries, where first graders are exposed to lectures. about the birds and bees of second year students (“If the Bee has dreamy hair and his own car to get a hypothetical minimum wage job, go for it”) and where you cut more cheese than in a five-star French restaurant.
In my day, someone could smuggle a pocket knife or a live frog onto the bus.
Today, you’re just as likely to hear someone explain, â€œI don’t mind sitting in the back seat. I have to make sure no one comes out the emergency exit anyway. I don’t know what’s worse – a gym class or running my human trafficking operation on my own while my brother has mono. “
Ideally, drivers are just a caring adult rendering a valuable service. But sometimes they are “thrown under the bus” by passengers. Like when it’s THEIR MISTAKE, they hit a few potholes and little Gavin can’t start and finish his detailed diorama of Shakespeare’s London on his way to school.
Many drivers go above and beyond the call of duty – consoling passengers who have fallen asleep and missed their stop, collecting Christmas gifts for underprivileged children, and reuniting students with backpacks and other items that they forgot. (“Thank you for putting down my life-size model of the skeleton of Henry VIII. Now tell my parents it wasn’t my fault I forgot it.”)
Kiss a school bus driver today – unless he’s already playing aerial guitar at a classic rock station while driving with his feet.
The wheels of the ambulance go round and round …
Danny Tyree accepts email responses to [email protected] and visits to his â€œTyree’s Tyradesâ€ Facebook fan page.