PRECIOUS CARGO

 

 

PRECIOUS CARGO

PRECIOUS CARGO
Wednesday morning and at 0530 some awful noise erupts signalling my start time and back to Pied
Piper duties driving Cathy’s bus, no 22, for 3 days while she is away for a minor surgery.

Many of you, like myself, dread catching up with a morning or evening Yellow machine only to find that
just as a passing opportunity arrives those 8 way amber flashers start and you know what will happen
……. very soon the brake lights will come on and the ambers will change to RED.

Children dashing around and rushing to leave or meet parents and then the red signs are off and so
is the Formula 1 Bluebird who streaks off at warp speed and as you struggle to catch up, on come
those ambers again!

While YOU sit and fume, consider this……. I’m not a truck driver, my load is NOT secure, other than
mine there are NO seat belts, and the passengers come in all sizes from 5 year olds up to senior
citizen children moving into their next phase of life. I don’t have a manifest but I DO have a truck load of
responsibility. There could be up to 67 of them on board and just like an aircraft they take their time to
find a seat and sit down, and we won’t be moving until they are sitting. Periodically as a queue
develops behind the bus we will pull over and let you by so take advantage of this manoeuvre and be
on your way at whatever speed pleases you.

So you won’t find me speeding with talking, walking freight, and there are 6 mirrors on the Yellow Peril
which need to be incorporated in the “scan” and the bathroom size viewer above my head to see what
they are doing and take remedial action if needed. Driving one of these is intense and requires a
similar amount of attention to riding a motorcycle well.  As with all moving objects smoothness is the
key and a much higher level of anticipation is required to prevent hard braking and little unrestrained
faces banging into seat backs in front of them. Cast your own minds back and remember children
always end up falling face first into everything with the resultant nose bleeds!…. well mine did !

On most of the county roads the routes used are graded but tend to go wash boardy and have a few
bumps and potholes and I wonder what they will become in the snow which can only be a few weeks
away. I hear horror stories on each route and areas that can become treacherous even with chains
and retarders and try and remember where others have got stuck before me. Maybe its pride but this
School District does NOT have snow days! The manned machine WILL get through, or at least that’s
the impression I get so more challenges await the rookie driver.

Just another run to school

The bus will get through!

Of course as a parent you have a common sense choice of safety when it comes to your children but
questions must surely be asked when conditions are so adverse that even the plow is struggling.
However, I thank you for your trust, and hope that I can exercise my duties with the upmost care, and
collect and deliver your offspring, come rain or shine, …… and then when day is done, return them
warm and safe as they are indeed a PRECIOUS CARGO.

TONY DOWN

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