Tag Archives: Public Transport

Life Lessons from the School Bus #2

“Which Way?”

Every school bus driver is a hero, but substitute bus drivers (“sub drivers”) are in a class by themselves. I should know….I was one.

Sub Drivers Rule!

Unlike a driver that has a regular route, a “sub” is driver that drives different routes every day. Whenever a driver gets sick, lays out, or gets fired for doing something stupid, the substitute driver has to drive that route. Most of the time, the call comes without any warning…or sunlight.

However, one of the problems that a substitute driver faces is figuring out where to go. Imagine being put in a vehicle with 70 children just out of class, wanting to go home. Imagine you are in a part of town you’ve never been in before. Imagine that you have no instructions or directions, but must depend on the kids (Heaven help us) to get you where you need to go. Been there…done that…literally got the t-shirt.

Now, try to imagine that the very ones that are trying to tell you where to turn don’t EVEN know their rights from their lefts! It happened to me…..surely it did!

“I’m NOT Stupid”

I will never forget pulling up to an intersection and being forced to decide which way to go. I ask, “Which way?” The response comes back, “Go right.” So, that’s what I proceeded to do, when, I swear, the conversation went something like this:

Kid 1:  NOOO! Go RIGHT! You’re going the wrong way!

Me:     Wait, you said “Go right,” so that what I was doing.

Kid 1:  No you weren’t…you’re going left…I said “go right.”

Me:     I DID go right!

Kid 1:  No, you went left.

Kid 2:  You did tell the bus driver to go right, man, and that’s what he did.

Kid 1:  No he didn’t! He went left!

Kid 2: Dude, you must not know your right from your left.

Kid 1:  Shut up! Yes I DO!!

Me:     (To Kid 1) Ok, let’s get this straight. Which is right, and which is left? Hold up your right hand.

Kid 1:  (Holds up his left hand)

Me:     Hold up your left hand.

Kid 1:  (Holds up his right) See, I told you. I’m NOT stupid!

Life Lesson

There is a right way, and there is a wrong way. The right way may be the left way; but if the facts are not right, somebody’s gonna get left. I know I’m right on this one.  As a matter of fact, there is a verse in the Bible that seems to talk about the same thing.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. – Pro 14:12 (NIV)

Make sure of two things: 1) the direction you are going; and 2) that your source of determining right and wrong (or right and left) is reliable. You don’t want to go the wrong way for an eternity, do you?

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A Song for Bus Drivers: “The School Bus Man Can”

The following story is not one that I included in my new book. But if there is a follow-up edition in the future, maybe I’ll consider adding a CD.

A Song was Needed

Several years ago, as the school year was coming to a close, a video was put together to share with all the drivers in the county. The person putting the video together asked if anyone had any music they would like played in the background.  I said, “I DO!

You see, a few weeks earlier I had sat down with my 8-track digital recorder and put together an ode to bus drivers. I even enlisted the help of my two girls (they sang backup and made all the noise). Even though it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously, there were within it were certain elements of truth.

This Is A True Story

One day, just when the morning routes were coming to an end, a desperate call came over the 2-way radio.  At first, it didn’t make sense, or at least it didn’t seem like much about which to be concerned. All of a sudden, like the moment you realize the unbelievable is real, the subject of the distressing radio transmission becomes painfully obvious.

Have you ever been walking through Wal-Mart and seen somebody that made you say to yourself, “What in the world was she thinking?” Well this was one of those moments, only the audio kind. Honest as a heart attack, this is how the conversation went…

Dispatcher:  “What number is this?” (in other words, the dispatcher was asking for the number of the bus)

Bus Attendant:  “Number ONE! Not TWO! I gotta go PEE! PLEASE let me go PEE!!

If I’m lying, I’m dying.

No joke, an attendant on a special needs bus got on the radio and asked permission to get off and go relieve herself. She literally pleaded and begged over the airwaves. But the craziest thing about all of this is that she wasn’t the only adult on that bus; she wasn’t even the dadgum driver! There was no need for her to call in and ask permission to go to the bathroom! She could have gone “number one” any time she wanted!

How embarrassing.

Folks, here is a lesson for you: when you have to go “potty,” keep it to yourself!

So, enjoy the song. Feel free to pass it on. I can’t make anything off of it anyway, you know. Sammy Davis, Jr. might come back an haunt me.

Click here to listen The School Bus Man Can

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Kids Spitting and Truth Telling

The following is what I am planning to make the last entry of my new book. Tell me what you think.

“Unexpected Truth”

Every once in a while a bus driver, or anyone for that matter, may find himself saying, “I didn’t see that one coming!” In other words, every once in a while something happens; somebody says something that you would have never imagined. Let me tell you about one of those “once in a while’s.”

Spitting Accusations

Kids are always doing stuff to each other to be aggravating. You have probably witnessed children throwing spit wads, taking items out of another’s book bag, or hiding a child’s shoe right before her stop. No? Well what about spitting on each other?

Oh, yes, children are well-accustomed to spitting on each other, especially boys. Now, they never admit to doing it; they usually blame it on the one kid with no salivary glands. But there was this one time when a boy on my bus accused a girl of spitting on him when she actually didn’t. How do I know that she didn’t? She showed me proof!

So, “Jack” hollered from the back of the bus, “Mr. Baker! ‘Jill’ spit on me!” Before I could rationally respond, another voice came from the back, the voice of the accused, crying, “No I didn’t – he’s lying!” Since I was in the process of driving and there was no place to pull over and deal with the situation, all I could do at the moment was respond with a simple request: “STOP SPITTING!”

A moment passed, then Jill came up to the seat behind me (which is dangerous and against the rules, by the way). “Mr. Baker,” she said in a tone laced with disgust, “I did not spit on Jack; he spit on himself after he spit on the seat.”

What?” I asked. “He’s spitting on the seat?! That’s gross!”  Incidentally, this is one of those times when I find it appropriate to ask: why do people of any age find enjoyment in recreational spitting? Why waist perfectly good saliva when there’s nothing necessarily nasty to expel from one’s mouth?

Anyway, a moment or two later, Jack came up to share his side of the story. “Mr. Baker, Jill did spit on me! See my shirt? See, this is her spit…she spit on me! See?”

I couldn’t argue with what I saw. There, as plain as the marks on a Dalmatian, were wet spots where something liquidy had collided with his shirt. Somebody had spit on him.

“Jill!” I yelled, “Why did you spit on Jack?” From the back of the bus came an insistent reply, “But I didn’t! He spit on himself just to get me in trouble!”

The Truth Comes Out

Where’s Solomon when you need him? Why can’t school buses be equipped with portable DNA equipment? How was I supposed to determine who spit on whom? How could I prove who needed to be punished with a stern warning and a verbal reprimand? The answer came in a way I never would have dreamed, but I will never forget.

“Mr. Baker…” Jill had made her way back up to the seat behind me, again while I was driving. “Jill, you need to sit down!” I told her.

“But Mr. Baker…” Let me just pause here to try to describe Jill’s way of saying my name. Jill spoke with a slightly non-emotional, matter-of-fact, drawn-out southern drawl. It sounded more like “Miiis-turr Buh-ayyy-kurr…”

“Mr. Baker, I didn’t spit on Jack; he spit on the seats and then on himself to make it look like I did it,” she said. “But I didn’t, and I can prove it.”

“Really,” I asked.

“Yessir,” Jill replied. “You see, Jack was eating green candy, and the spit on his shirt was green – mine is not…SEE!

At that point, just around my right shoulder, came the arm of a little girl. Attached to that arm was a palm, and in that palm was half an ounce of spit – yes, spit! It looked like a blob of clear silicone!

“It wasn’t me that spit, ‘cause my spit is clear, seeeee Mr. Baker?”

I couldn’t argue with her. She proved her point. There was the proof puddled in the palm of her hand, clear as day. I nearly threw up.

Life Lesson

We may not like it, but sometimes the truth is hard to stomach – and nothing like what we expected.

The simple fact is that truth isn’t always pleasant; more often it is nasty. No woman wants to hear the truth when she asks, “Does this dress make me look fat?”  No man wants to hear the truth when he asks, “How did I do with the laundry?” But sometimes the truth has to be told to make a difference. Unfortunately, to play off the words of Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, many can’t handle the truth.

For example, there is a saying that goes, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Do you know where that saying came from? It comes from Jesus. He said, “If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:31-32). The part that is hard for many to stomach is the part where He says, “If you continue in my word…” In other words, in order to know the truth that will set one free, one must be a follower of Jesus Christ.

Some say that truth is relative, that it changes with the circumstances of life. Others have said that there is no truth, only perception (Gustave Flaubert). However, without truth there can be no lie, no wrong, and no remedy for the spit on some kid’s shirt, not to mention the darkness in our hearts. But when we follow Jesus, we can rest assured there is Truth to know, for He said in John 14:6, “I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE…”

Route Suggestions

  • When faced with a tough situation, one that demands you make a wise decision, ask God for help. James 1:5 says, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God…”
  • Don’t ask someone to tell you the truth about how you look, how well you’re doing your job, etc., unless you’re willing to hear the truth.
  • Don’t “kill the messenger.” If someone does try to tell the truth, don’t get angry when they say the dress makes you look fat. Just get angry because they weren’t sensitive enough to change the subject.
  • Read the book of John in the Bible. Make a list of the claims that Jesus made. Was He telling the truth? For the atheist or agnostic, that may be a truth too hard to handle, but it can set you free.

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Filed under book review, Faith, General Observations, Humor, Life Lessons, salvation

Feedback Needed! Don’t Be a Snotty Susie!

The following is an excerpt from a new book I am trying to complete within the next few days. It will be called Life Lessons from the School Bus. Let me know what you think. Marketable? Funny? Gets the point across? 

“Losing Marbles”

Once there was a little girl on my bus who cried over everything, especially when she didn’t get her way.  She ended up losing her marbles.

Snotty Susie

One morning this little girl – let’s just call her “Snotty Susie” – was crying about how everybody hated her.  Seriously, not two minutes after getting on the bus she started in with her caterwauling (the howling or wailing noise a cat makes). For the next 15 minutes the rest of the kids tried to console her, but all she kept saying through the sniffing, slobbering and crying was “Nobody wants to be my friend! Everybody hates me! WAAAAAH!

Fortunately, we reached the elementary school before everyone went deaf from the crying. Then, just as “Snotty Susie” was stepping off the bus, a little boy who had gotten off in front of her looked back and said, “Nobody hates you, Susie; we just don’t like you.”

At least the little guy was being honest.

The Great Giveaway

Well, that afternoon, when the elementary kids were getting on the bus to go home, “Susie” got on first and sat on the front row. “Would you like a marble, Mr. Baker?” she asked. “No,” I said, “I have plenty.”

What kind do you have?” she asked. “The round kind,” I replied.

Then, as the other children entered the bus, just as soon as they walked past her, she would ask, “Would you like a marble? You can have it for keeps. EVERYONE! Get your FREE marble, if you WANT one!

I asked, “What are you doing? Why are you giving away your marbles?” She said, “Because I am going to MAKE them like me.

Honestly, I felt sorry for the poor little girl. No one had ever taught her how to make friends.

Life Lesson

When we treat people poorly, and then try to buy their friendship with shiny trinkets, we end up losing our marbles.

“Snotty Susie” usually had a bad attitude about everything. She regularly talked mean to other kids, made fun of them, and then cried out in emotional pain when someone wasn’t nice to her. No one wanted to be her friend because she was NOT friendly! She couldn’t even buy friends for a day.

The saddest part was that I picked up a handful of marbles after all the children got off.

Route Suggestions

  • King Solomon said, “A man that has friends must show himself friendly” (Proverbs 18:24). How can you be nice to someone today?
  • Don’t try to buy your friends. If you do, you’ll just go broke (marble deficient) trying to keep them.
  • Don’t let anyone buy YOUR friendship. Be a real friend to somebody who’s a marble short.

[UPDATED IN AN ATTEMPT TO BE LESS SOPHOMORIC. I HOPE IT WORKED.]

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Year-End Wisdom from the School Bus

Life Lessons

If you are new to my blog, besides trying to pastor a church, parent children, and perturb a wife, I drive a school bus. It’s what I do to help pay the bills and increase my presence in the community.

photo (41)A while back I wrote a series of posts called “Life Lessons from the School Bus.” I haven’t done any in a while, however. So, since school is now out for Christmas vacation, I thought it would be a good time to catch up.

Below are three, short examples of truth gleaned from inside the “yellow box” on wheels. If you like these, you should go read some of my older posts. You won’t be disappointed.

“Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.” – Proverbs 3:13-15 NKJV

The Roundabout

Europe came to Chattanooga a few years ago in the form of roundabouts. They are only in a few places, but people are getting used to them, especially the NASCAR fans – they love driving in circles.

Anyway, last week I came to a roundabout in my bus. About a quarter of the way through, a girl in a little car came from the street to my right and pulled directly in front of me, causing me to slam on my brakes. “Oops!” was the look that came across her face. “Idiot!” must have been the look on mine.

Life Lesson? Are school buses invisible? No, and neither are many of the tragedies that run over people every day. People get so distracted with life that they never see the things approaching which could take life from them.

Losing Marbles

There’s this one little girl on my bus that cries over the least little things, like when she doesn’t get her way. One time she was crying about how everybody hated her. Then, just as she was stepping off the bus, another little boy looked back at her and said, “Nobody hates you, [name]; we just don’t like you.”

Well, that afternoon, when the elementary kids were getting on the bus to go home, this little girl got on first and sat on the front row. “Would you like a marble, Mr. Baker?” she asked. “No,” I said, “I have plenty.” “What kind do you have?” she asked. “The round kind,” I replied.

Then, as every child getting on the bus walked past her she would say, “Would you like a marble? You can have it for keeps. Everyone! Get your free marble, if you want one!

I asked, “What are you doing? Why are you giving away your marbles?” She said, “Because I am going to make them like me.

Life Lesson? Believe it or not, many adults do the same thing. They treat others poorly, then try to buy their friendship with shiny trinkets. Sadly, when all is said and done, the marbles just end up on the floor when the “friends” leave.

Puke Breeds Puke

It’s the last thing a bus driver wants to deal with, but puke happens.

Recently a driver in our area suffered a puking “perfect storm.” One child on his bus got sick and orally relieved himself, which started a chain reaction. I’ll never forget the driver’s words over the two-way radio, “It’s everywhere…all over…the bus is covered.”

You see, there is an irrefutable law on school buses: puke runs downhill (or down isles). So, when one kid started throwing up, six or seven others followed his example, leaving the bus to be washed out with a water hose.

Life lesson? Watch your mouth – and what you spew out of it. The way you talk will influence others. Bad attitudes breed more bad attitudes, and what you end up with is a nasty mess.

 Want to be a school bus driver? Doesn’t pay a lot, but the lessons learned are worth a fortune!

 

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