Sunday, December 13, 2009

We had a field trip to a couple of malls for the choir of a middle school and...

there were two buses on this pick up drive and return. I was in bus #2 and my pal from the same HTS route was in bus #1. We discussed this trip the day before and neither of us had been to the destination stores and we determined that we would ask the adults on board our buses the best place to drop them off. He had no problem with his adults, they were quite happy to direct him for the safest drop off orientation. I had two adults on my bus and the daughter of the music director who was not on either bus, but in her van since she was apparently incapacitated. One of the adults was sitting in the back and the other about 3 seats back from my position. We were going to Nordstroms in the Lloyd Center and when we were close at Halsey and 7th I asked her where Norstroms is and got a response I did not expect. She told me on previous trips that the drivers talked on the radio and why wasn't I doing that? I told her it was not allowed and she must have doubted my word right there. We weres at a stop sign and she barked out in a loud terse voice "Turn Right Here!" And when I didn't act immediately on her command she once again blasted me with the command "Turn Right Here!" I was startled that this adult whom I had already given cell phone # to in case we could not stay parked at the drop was using an agitated almost hysterical voice command with me who had just only asked for help. She explained that she had been coming to this event for 8 years and she expressed surprise that I didn't know where Nordstroms is. Well, I got my bearings after looking at my map page that I had planned on and made the turn and already figured out we were turning left on Multnomah and again left on 9th Ave. But of course, she couldn't let it rest and again barked to me "Turn left at the Signal!" I responded with I've got it, I see the other bus etc. and she apparently interpreted that as my being curt with her. When we got to the drop point I said very calmly that I thought maybe I would not be able to stay parked there and she told me most authoritatively that I most certainly not be able to. As it turned out I was able to park there leaving my hazard lights on. I then went across the street to chat with the other driver and was telling him of my unruly passenger when my phone rang. It was the book agent for our trip and she asked me what had happened on my bus that a woman had called to complain about my curt attitude and apparently the woman went on and on about what a horrible bus driver I am and that I was lost and didn't know my way around. The booking agent told me to extend the utmost courtesy to this woman because she could be a school board member as though I hadn't already extended the utmost courtesy. It is always such a thrill to hear from a boss when on a trip and is not even half way completed and being told that I am not acting professionally, that they are this woman's word over mine knowing that the complaints to praises ratio at our yard is 314/12. I got a call about 5 minutes from the time the passengers were going to come out as I expected since I'd extended my self above the expected before leaving the school and it was not the woman, but the music director and I was myself, just as I had been with the woman who was offended that I didn't know where the entrance to Nordstroms is. We loaded up and it was if nothing had happened, yet the woman had what seemed like a smug little smile on her face as though she had really been right and she showed me. I am now being very careful and treading carefully with her. When we got to the other destination Jantzen Beach I asked if anyone knew where Burlington Coat Factory was and she said turn left here for the main mall. I did that, saw the #1 bus and all was well, except we couldn't unload the passengers without a phone call from the music director to her daughter. After that they onloaded and bus #1 and I parked in the open part of the parking lot away from the busy sections. I once again went to his bus and when I got there he said ""I overheard a couple of my adults saying "I'm glad we have the good bus driver!"" Well, I told him I guess that adult on my bus had a headache and he suggested maybe she was just pissed off at me because of her husband and her relationship. When it was time to leave the daughter of the music director told me we couldn't leave without a call from her mom. The other bus began pulling away and I said because the other bus was leaving, but she hadn't got a call. I know at that point they were playing a game with me that only they knew the rules of because then they both said at the same time, "oh we just got the wave to go." No phone call and the music director was no where to be seen, she had left first. Bus #1 took a right turn and I followed him and the woman said, where are you going, the exit is straight ahead where that long line of cars is?" I said I was following the other bus, the path of least resistance, like water. I don't know what she thought of that. It turns out on of the adult chaperones on bus #1 is an off duty sheriff deputy and he knows a better way out. It was true, there were hardly any cars and there is an entrance to I 5 South right off the parking lot, no traffic lights. I think even the woman with the headache was surprised into not admitting that she didn't know about that entrance to the highway. Traffic was tough and another driver on the radio commented it was a parking lot right where we were going to be driving through. We managed and we got to our home to school pick up point on time after dropping these folks off. People are unpredictable and obviously bus drivers and others who transport other people are looked down upon by some of the population. Sometimes these down lookers get on our transportation systems and sometimes they are rude and talk down to us like we are their servants and know nothing of our jobs. That is not to say everyone is like that, it is few and far between usually, except I was a little sensitive since I had had a written complaint about a month ago from a teacher that was accompanying her students on another trip. These are the only complaints I've been notified about, so I feel pretty good about my manner and capabilities.

1 comment:

  1. I guess no matter how hard you try, it's impossible to plesae all of the people all of the time.