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Paul Francis Mc Cann

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On The Bus
By Paul Francis Mc Cann
Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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Being on board a bus is an experience .

On The Bus

By Paul McCann

Col drove the community bus at the weekend for the Hillview Nursing home . Most of the time it was day trips for some of the residents . He did it for the extra money not for the company .
During the week he drove the Government Bus .. His regular passengers were mostly young people going to and from school .

“Shut the heck up !“
Was his usual turn of phrase .
He was never happy with how they conducted themselves on his bus and let them know who was in charge . Often there would be unscheduled stops to throw offenders off the bus who were distracting him while driving .

He liked to hit the brakes hard when a passenger was standing out off the seat in the aisle . Then watch the helpless individual plummet down the floor of the bus to the stairwell opposite where he sat . Col never offered to help anyone .

The music provided was from his channel on the radio .
No one was allowed to eat or drink on his bus . If anyone made a mess it would have to be cleaned by all those who were left on the bus .
If anyone forgot their bus pass or didn’t have the correct amount for the fare they would not be permitted on board .
Col never smiled or said a kind word to anyone . He was employed to drive the bus not to provide anything else.

One Monday morning he took the bus out as usual from the depot . He headed off on his usual route picking up passengers as he went .
With the bus half full of school kids and the rush hour beginning Col charged along through the streets, past the shops and then to the ascent at Patrick’s Hill. At the top of the hill there was a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside that threw out clusters of small green hills towards a flat green carpet at the bottom of the hill where a set of traffic lights directed the traffic on to the main highway .
Col sat back watching some of the passengers ,

“Shut the heck up !”
He screamed .
Col hit the top of the hill hard and as the bus picked up speed down the other side he applied the brakes that went straight to the floor .
His heart went thud .
His hands got clammy .
He applied the brakes again ,.The bus was now flying down the hill out of control . Col tried not to panic .
Some of the school kids screamed in excitement others in fear .
Col knew once the bus hit the bottom of the hill if the traffic lights went red there could be a catastrophe .

He turned on the radio and a popular song came on . He knew it was one of those songs the kids liked and invited everyone to sing along . Immediately they responded and it seemed to help settle everyone .

The traffic lights were now in clear view . Col put on the flashing warning lights and hoped they would stay green . He knew once he passed through the lights he had a chance - One chance .

If he was able to cross over the highway in front of three lanes of traffic coming the other direction he might make it through into the driveway of the nursing home, if the gates were opened ..
This exit from the jaws of death was a long shot but he made a promise that if it worked out he would change and try to be a better person .

So the first hurdle was cleared the traffic lights stayed green . Col took a deep breath and a sigh of relief . Now as he negotiated the bend the bus was almost up on two wheels . He straightened the bus back up and avoided a dog in the middle lane which put the bus into a skid that he also was able to correct . Then in a loud voice he screamed ,
“Alleluia .The gates are open .”

The bus with no brakes mounted the median strip and desperately he speared the bus in front of the on coming traffic that swerved to avoid a collision .
It was a miracle .
Everything went well and the bus made its way into the Hillview nursing homes’ driveway . Up the bus went , slowing down as it climbed the steep hill to the reception point outside administration block .

The bus finally came to a rest in the rose garden Bed and Col collapsed on the driving wheel .

All the nursing staff came rushing out from the building.
Everyone on the bus in a moment of rapture suddenly began to applaud Col and cheer out his name.
For the first time in his life he was a hero .All the passengers hugged him and even kissed him . Something happened inside him at this point in time .

He felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
Immediately he contacted the Bus Depot and reported what had occurred.
He asked that the school be notified and that the parents who had kids on the 815 be informed. There was no one hurt and everything was ok .

The RN of the nursing home the realised who was the driver of the bus and quietly said.

“Dear me, Col are you ok?”

“Yes Its all good “
He answered .

“How can I help ?”
She asked .

“Well can you get everyone off the bus and maybe give them a tour of the nursing home and I’ll get another bus sent here to get the kids to school .“

“No problem .Col ”

Once the back up driver with a bus arrived Col was given some time off .

During his weeks break he put together am plan of action for his return .

His asked that his new bus could be fitted with entertainment on board .
So it was agreed that a TV with a range of built in computer games and other on line facilities could be installed .

The Nursing home contacted the school and asked if there could be a regular visit from the school . It seemed that the residents really enjoyed having some of the young kids there for a visit .
Now everyday Col enjoyed listening to the conversations on his bus . He even joined in with them . There were kids from all walks of life .
So many different cultures and attitudes . Col loved to watch them banter and try to make their presence felt .
Everyone had their own opinion about life and Col was soon the most loved driver in the distrcit .

He had lived up to his promise and drove a message home to everyone who boarded his bus .
His turn of phrase now was ,

‘Good morning and how are you . Isn’t it a beautiful day . “

By Paul McCann

The End

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