We all take little shortcuts sometimes. Maybe we’re tired. Maybe we’re in a rush. Whatever the reason, those shortcuts can sometimes have dire consequences. A New Jersey bus driver experienced this truth first-hand after failing to ensure all the children had exited his bus on Tuesday morning.
Mishiloh Akturk said she’d put her 3-year-old son on a Mercer transportation school bus at 8 a.m. that morning. While waiting at the bus stop to pick him up that afternoon, she received a call from the transportation office. They informed her that her little boy had spent the entire day on the school bus.
“I never received a call from the school saying that he didn’t show up that day,” Mishiloh told USA Today. “I got a call about 2 p.m. saying he sat on the bus all day without heat or food or anything. I guess he fell asleep and was sitting in the back.”
With the temperatures below freezing, and the very nature of toddlers, it’s an absolute miracle that nothing happened to the young child yesterday. Mishiloh told USA Today that she was happy she’d taken the time to bundle up her son, who only recently started school.
“Thank God I bundled him with layers and his hat and gloves,” she said. “He sat on that bus for five-plus hours. He could have died. He could have frozen to death. The EMT was there and checked him out. He seems fine. He was happy and eating his lunch when I got there.”
Unfortunately, the child being “fine” doesn’t erase the mistake of the driver that day.
According to the manager at Mercy Transportation, the part-time bus driver started with the company at the beginning of the school year. He’d attended training and had been one of the company’s most reliable employees. Unfortunately, the driver failed to follow protocol that day.
“The bus is equipped with the Child Reminder System,” the manager told USA Today. “When you turn off the bus, the bus gives a buzz or some noise. You have to walk to the back of the bus and open the door and close the door to stop the noise. He did not follow procedure.”
Instead, the driver left the bus and then walked around to the back of it to open and close the door. Because of that, one of the eight students didn’t make it off the bus that day. And that one mistake cost a good employee his job.
“Punctuality-wise, he is one of our best drivers,” the manager said. “He was even seen on video helping the kids off the bus. He was very good. It’s unfortunate it happened to him that way.”
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