Yes, Virginia, a school bus can go rabid.
My three-year-old sees a face on every car that crosses our path. Secretly, you see it too. The headlights are eyes, the grill a smile. Sometimes a vehicle can be temperamental, breaking down at the most inopportune times. Sometimes we name them and cry when we sell them.
Which raises a valid question: are the vehicles that tote us hither and yon ALIVE?
On a day in June, I got my answer.
I drive a 16 ton school bus with roughly 100 kids (on two runs, Middle and Elementary – yes, they try to kill me, especially the small buggers). On a brilliant, Cape Cod morning I woke the beast at 6:45 A.M. and started my first run of the day: the middle-schoolers (the texting-swearing-gossiping crowd). They can be loud, but they are good kids from the hills of Sagamore Beach. While I enjoy them, it turns out the bus may have its own tie-rod to pick with them.
On that beautiful morning, the bus decided to eat the kids.
Perhaps it was the gum stuck to the floor. Or perhaps it had its tormented fill of seats being ripped. Whatever the reason, it wanted to crush a few kids in its hydraulic doors.
The run started out very normal, but by stop #3, the door was acting suspiciously slow, as if biding its time and calculating the opportune moment. Kids getting on eyed the Loser Cruiser with a curious eye.
They it finally happened – while stepping onto the bus, one student got pinned by the doors, followed by a gasp of collective shock, then a scramble to release the door manually.
The bus had finally flipped and was channeling Stephen King’s twisted mind. Thus began the kid-munching drive from hell.
Through a joint effort between myself (driver) and several, tasty victims, we managed to out-wit Bus 14 using a coordinated attack involving the automatic switch and manual release.
Supposedly, the whole incident was blamed on some faulty thingamajig, but let’s face it: If Christine was the pinnacle of vehicular perfection, then Bus 14 had at least a dozen loose screws.