The Bus Driver Part II: Bus Driver Vengeance
I thought it was over. A bus driver honked at me, I gave her the finger, she yelled at me and said she wasn't honking at me, I apologised and that was that. Over, right?

Not over. The saga continues, apparently. And it's such a stupid thing too, caused by a misunderstanding and me giving someone the finger. You'd think I'd drawn a picture of a bus driver wearing a bomb in her turban and had it published in a Danish newspaper. Ridiculous.

To keep things simple I'll call the driver Mary. Here's what happened today:

My wife walked the kids to school today and when she arrived, my son ran off to play with friends and my daughter stayed with my wife. At the same time, Mary pulled her bus up to the school and let some kids and at least one parent off the bus. Mary saw my wife and walked over to her.

Now I wasn't there, so this is here-say, but my wife told me that Mary talked so fast and said so much, she couldn't get a word in edgewise. Some quotes of what Mary said:

"I saw you laughing. I don't like to be laughed at."

"I know where you live"

"You're scared of me"

"Go laugh in your own face next time"

And then she said something about the police, but my wife didn't catch it.

My wife told Mary that she's not scared of her and that she's going to go into the school and talk to the principal. Mary left. my wife didn't end up going into the school. She stood with our daughter until the bell rang and she had gone in. Then she went home and called me.

Again, let me reiterate: This is a stupid thing, caused by misunderstanding and a hand gesture that everyone learns by the time they're in 3rd grade. But telling someone "I know where you live" is a threat and as grown-ups, we're not supposed to threaten each other, right?

So my wife told me what happened and I told her not to do anything until I've had some time to think. She called her Dad (a cop) and he suggested that she call Mary's place of employment. My wife told that to me and that's I did.

First I called the Ontario School Bus Association. In my opinion, this is a useless organization. I think it's run by 3 people in an office in Etobicoke, but none of them are in the office at 9am on a weekday. I called and their answering machine asked me to press 21 for this person, 25 for that person or 30 to speak to anyone. I tried all three. Nobody's there. In fact, all the voice mails tell you to hang up and call back to one of the other extensions if this is "an emergency". Stupid.

So the OSBA was no help. Then I called the Board of Education. From the main switchboard I asked for the Transportation department and they redirected my call to an automated system for requesting a substitute teacher. Somebody needs to educate these educators regarding communication.

I called back and explained that I didn't need a sub teacher, I needed to talk to someone about a bus. I got transferred to the transport department and the woman there told me that 3 bus companies work in my area and gave me their names and numbers. Go call them, I can't help you.

I called the first company on my list. Now, at this point I don't know anything about Mary except her last name, her address and her phone number. Isn't the Internet a wonderful resource? So I told the person on the phone that I wanted to make a complaint and all I have is the last name of the driver.

Apparently this set off alarm bells over there. She wanted to know why I was calling, who I am, why do I only have a last name, is this something to do with a divorce? "I can't give you ANY information", she said. I told her that I all I needed her to do is tell me if this last name works for that company. If it does, I want to make a complaint. If it doesn't, have a nice day. She looked it up and Mary doesn't work for Company number one. Next!

I called the second company. I told the woman who answered that I wanted to make a complaint and asked who do I need to speak to. She said she was the lucky one and I could tell her. I told her the last name I had and she replied with "Mary lastname omitted?". I said I guessed so. And that's how I learned her first name.

So I explained the entire story to this woman on the phone, leaving out no details, starting from Monday's adventure with the honking and the finger, right up to this morning's school yard confrontation.

"Wow". That's what the woman on the phone said. I started to feel like I was really getting Mary into some trouble, so I tried to lighten things up a bit. I repeated that I had started this and it was a stupid thing and it should have ended on Monday. The woman on the phone said that Mary had acted childishly and that there were at least a few violations of conduct in what I'd told her.

Judging from where the woman stopped me during my story and asked me to clarify, here's the violations I think we're dealing with:

First, Mary left her bus. Were there any kids on the bus? I can't say yes or no. I'm thinking that if there were, that's a no-no.

"Today, when she let kids off the bus, did you say that a parent got off too?" asked the woman on the phone. I clarified and said what my wife told me, that "a Mom" had got off the bus too. I guess there's a no ride-alongs policy.

Then she asked about the threats like "I know where you live" and "You're scared of me", which I repeated. Obviously a bus driver shouldn't be trying to intimidate people.

And that's it. The woman also took down my name and phone numbers and asked if I wanted someone to call me back. I said they can if they want, but it's not necessary. She said that "these violations are serious" and that she'll have to write it up and someone would be calling me back. Fine.

You know, I really didn't want to mess with Mary's life. Before I phoned her company I asked myself, what if she calls my company and bitches to my boss about me? How would I feel? I guess I wouldn't like it, but I don't really mind. It's none of my company's concern really and I doubt they'd care at all.

Before I even called Mary's company I talked to my wife again and had her retell the story to me. What sealed the deal for me was that Mary had said "I know where you live". That's not nice. I've watched enough Judge Judy to know that saying that is considered a threat.

So we'll see how this plays out and I'll keep things updated here. I really don't wish anything bad on Mary. I hope all they do is tell her to stay the hell away from my wife and my kids. And I really hope they don't make her apologise or write a letter or something like that. How uncomfortable would that be? Ick.