Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Great Bus Caper

If this story ended like a Lifetime Made for TV Movie Special, these pictures of us saying goodbye to our girls the first day of school, would be of the last time we ever saw them.


These photos almost seem eerie to me now, after the events that unfolded that first day.

After we came inside from seeing them off (they insisted they wanted to ride the bus the first day of school) we noticed that Azure left her lunch at home. This was a little odd since she was super excited to bring it for her first day ever eating lunch at school. Dan said he could just drop it off on his way to work, so no big deal.

He ended up getting there about 40 minutes after the girls had been picked up by the bus. Instead of leaving the lunch in the office, as is usual protocol, the Principal let him bring it directly to Azure's class since she knows us well, and it was the first day of school and all.

He got to Azure's classroom, and asked the teacher if Az was in the bathroom since he didn't see her. "No, she hasn't come in yet today."

Panic.

He ran to Bella's classroom. She wasn't there either.

Our girls were missing.

Dan ran to the office to inform them of the situation. No one had seen them. No busses had called in about late arrivals or mechanical problems. They called the bus depot, which was just as stumped. They hadn't heard anything out of the norm from any of their drivers. They finally radioed out to all of the buses asking if anyone had seen two missing girls, age 7 and 6. The older one with light brown hair and brown eyes, wearing purple. The younger one with long blonde hair and blue eyes, wearing a pink scarf and a skirt. Both thin. Both caucasian. Sisters. They waited for a response. And waited for a response. Then finally called back to the school's office that yes, one of their drivers reported back that he still had them on his bus.

This is the driver that I asked, when he came to our busstop to pick them up, what was going on, since his was a different bus number than we were expecting. He quickly assured me that he was merely a substitute and that our regular driver just had jury duty today and would be back tomorrow. He also told me, after I asked if our girls' names were on his route list, that they hadn't been given lists yet, and that those should come out next week. He waved them on board, and we sent them on their way - on a ride that should have only taken two minutes, to drive 4 blocks down the road to their school.

Instead, he was on a route that took them out of our neighborhood, 8 miles away to Pioneer Elementary school. Unbeknownst to us at the time, they had sent his bus, to our stop at our exact time, to pickup ESL kids and deliver them to this other school.

When they got there, Bella and Azure told him that Pioneer wasn't their school. He didn't stop the bus. He didn't take them inside and ask the office staff if these girls, who may have been confused since it was the first day of school, really did belong there. He didn't ask my girls what school they do attend {which they know}. He didn't ask my girls for their parents' contact info {which they know}. He didn't even radio in to the depot to report that he had two little girls on his bus that seemed to be lost, and that he didn't know where to take them. He just kept driving. And driving. Until he heard the call from the bus depot, making it clear that they were aware of the missing girls.

I don't know his intent. I don't know what would have happened if Azure hadn't left her lunch at home, and we didn't realize they were gone. I don't know what would have happened if Mrs. P asked Dan to drop the lunch in the office so as to not disturb the class - adding another 3 1/2 hours to the time before anyone knew something was wrong.

I do know, the Lord was watching over my little girls. They made it back safely, and were no worse for the wear. They got off the bus smiling and laughing, an hour and a half after their school had started.

I do know that I love those little girls with all of my heart. I smothered them when next I saw them. I cried. I knelt down and thanked a loving Heavenly Father for protecting my family. And I spent two hours talking with the transportation department's supervisors about what on earth went wrong that day.

Maybe not the best start to a new school year, but definitely an adventure. One that I would be okay with NEVER, ever having again. Posted by Picasa

*One thing I should mention, is that fortunately for my little heart, I happened to be in the shower, then drying my hair when these events were unfolding. I didn't get Dan's initial "our children are missing call". I didn't hear his 10 subsequent calls. I finally answered the phone to hear all that had just happened after the girls had already arrived safely at the school. I know it was frustrating for Dan, but such a blessing for me, as I can't imagine how I would react to that huge of an unknown. I was so shaken up even after the fact...so grateful that Dan was the calm, level-headed one there, handling everything. As his cousin Julie posted already - we are truly grateful for the Lord's tender mercies!

12 comments:

runningfan said...

That's the craziest thing I have ever heard! I'm so glad your girls are safe.

Jen said...

Cumorah,
That is quite possibly the worst story I have EVER read! How horrible for you guys!!! Kai started kindergarten this year so maybe it just hits closer to home, but I would have been so freaked out. Glad they are safe!

Jen

Julie said...

Okay, that was the worst "first day of school" story ever! I am so thankful that Az left her lunch home etc., etc. Thank goodness for the Lord's tender mercies! On a side note, they looked so darling and I hope they have a fantastic year!

Diana said...

SCARY. I'd love to hear the bus drivers' reasons for NOT radioing in. WHERE ON EARTH WAS HE DRIVING TO? I'm sure you were in a complete panic. I hope your emotions have since settled down. I'm not sure mine would be. Hugs to those cuties.

Angie said...

I'm SO GLAD that the girls are okay. What a scary feeling and I would panic too.

I'm sorry that happened but I don't doubt Heavenly Father and angels were watching over your cuties.

M&M said...

Oh my gosh I felt myself panicking just reading the recap and knowing they were o.k. What a scary situation!! I'm so glad everything worked out o.k.

Diana said...

I keep reading this. I cannot stop thinking about this. Was the man fired?!?!

Saquel25 said...

I got bad chills followed by good ones knowing they were watched over. Scary stuff.

ang said...

oh i would have been FREAKING OUT. glad your babies are okay!

Rachel said...

That is so scary!

I dropped Brayden off at our neighborhood elementary school for him to ride the bus to his school and I saw a lone Kindergartner wandering around an empty playground at 7:30 a.m. and took him in the school to the office, he had been dropped off at the wrong school. They need to be more aware of our children's safety.

The Goulds said...

That totally made me cry....I can't even imagine. There are no such things as coincidences & I am so thankful that they are okay...and that they were together & not alone. It always brings me to my knees when I see that Heavenly Father really is aware of just me....like you being in the shower & not getting the call until they were found okay. He knew that is what you needed & that Dan was the one that should be there to handle it. What a great Father we have.

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