I had successfully passed my commercial driving test with air brake, and passenger endorsements after my county job had come to a close. I enjoyed driving a school bus. Route driving was pretty easy. We were paid for a minimum of two hours no matter how long our route actually was. My route was about an hour and ten minutes, each morning and evening route. I loved my big snubbed nose 92 passenger bus! I even liked my naughty riders. The sweet students were precious, the precocious ones kept things interesting. I was known as “hey, bus driver!” for three years and I never regretted becoming one. I took great pride in delivering my ‘kids’ to school and back home from school safely, every day.
It fascinated me how rude people were when I was running my route. Honking, trying to pass when I was dropping off my kids, doing some terrifying stuff that could have injured and resulted in a child being run over. I took no prisoners; license plate numbers, the date, and place of the incident were called into the base hub, and these people were ticketed.
I had one man come up to my bus as I was dropping off children to scream obscenities at me because I pulled my stop arm and he didn’t think I gave him enough warning. The children were so scared, it was my elementary run. I smiled at the kids who I was dropping off and whispered, “run along home right now.” Then I turned back to the rude man and started arguing long enough to make sure my kids had gotten in their house then I told the man to get back in his vehicle immediately. He said he was going to report me, I told him I was glad and to please remember my bus number so he could get it right. He dropped a few more F-Bombs. And I drove away. Not even 15 minutes later…
“Base to G-1, you are to report to the main office upon returning.”
“G1 to Base, 10-4.”
Dang, that dude was quick! I got back to the bus barn and walked into the office waiting for my penance. Not only was my boss, the secretary, and the mechanic sitting there… The boss from another bus company was also present. This was not going to go well. Then they all started laughing and asked if I was OK?
Apparently, the irate man went to the wrong bus depot and raised some hell. Then they figured out who I was and came over to my depot to talk with my boss. All this time my boss was receiving phone calls from concerned parents that a ‘maniac’ was attacking their kid’s bus driver and they would not stand for it!
I was speechless and just slumped into a chair. All I could come up with was, “Well, I’m just fine.” This seemed to make everyone laugh even harder, and I was handed a beer because ‘it looked like I needed one.’
Ah, memories… there was never a dull moment. And things were going to get a lot more interesting as I decided to pick up a second job bartending at a biker bar to offset my income. Twenty hours a week bus driving was not cutting it with the bills and school payments.
My first night, the bartender who was supposed to train me had to leave. His wife had been in a minor car accident and was OK, but she was hospitalized. Off he went! It was the owner, “D” and me. Now, this bar was well-run and very busy. But it took a tough crew to run it and keep things under control. “D” decided to see if I had what it took and threw me into the fire that night. I was ticked off, but I knew two can play this game. It was ‘make’ or ‘break’ time, and I wasn’t about to break. He had no idea what tricks I had up my sleeve. Let’s just say this evening was going to be an eye-opener for him.