Tuesday, November 25, 2008

School Bus

The New Zealand news item of the boy napping in the bus reminded me of my Singapore neighbour's daughter in a similar scenario. She was four at that time, both parents work and they had a foreign domestic helper aka maid.

The little girl A. must have fallen asleep during the long bus ride, and when the bus pulled in my neighbourhood, the "Bus aunty" did not notice her sleeping in the bus. The doppey maid didn't think anything was amiss when A did not alight the bus with the others. She just yakked and yakked with other maids whilst waiting for the bus.

My friend returned for home for lunch and found the maid still waiting the bus.

"No, Mam, the bus no come."

My friend frentically called the bus company, the bus driver was still plying his route. They would have to wait till the bus comes back to the depot. You must remember that was the time before mobile phones.

They did find the girl who indeed had fallen asleep. The "Bus aunty" was new on her first day of duty. The little girl couldn't tell the driver where she lived or what her name was.

My friend was just glad that her daughter was back sound and safe.

***Kids go to school very early in Singapore. they have three years of pre school, some even four. pre nursery, nursery, kindy one and kindy two.***

Boy's school bus nap turns into family horror
3:02PM Wednesday Nov 26, 2008

A six year old Greymouth boy's nap on the school bus turned into a family's worst nightmare yesterday.

Parents Teressa and Michael Rooney mounted a search when their son Tommy, a St Patrick's Primary School pupil, did not get off the bus with his brothers, William and Peter, outside their Milton Road, Greymouth, home.

"I rang my husband and he jumped in the car to follow the bus." He stopped it at Kumara and was told by the driver that Tommy was not on the bus.

"He called out, 'Tommy are you there?' and there was no sign of him. The other kids didn't see him either," Mrs Rooney said today.

At that point panic set in with family, friends and teachers from St Patrick's all out looking for Tommy.

St Patrick's principal Mary-Clare Murphy said she rang Greymouth High School to see if he had accidentally got off the bus there, but a search of the grounds did not turn up anything.

The school had also contacted the police, and nearby neighbours had offered to help in the search.


However, by the time the school bus reached Dillmanstown, 26km south of Greymouth, Tommy - who had slept through the entire bus journey - suddenly sat up and was seen by the driver.

Tommy's grandmother, Helen Noble, said while everyone was still out searching, the police station called to say he was on his way home in the bus.

"We were just so relieved. I rang Teressa and she passed the message on."

Mrs Rooney rushed home to wait at the gate for the bus and was joined by her husband and a school teacher.

When it drove down the road she could see Tommy with a solemn face sitting in the front seat next to the bus driver.

"He seemed fine, despite the drama," Mrs Rooney said.

"He woke up and just wanted a cuddle from his dad."

Mrs Rooney praised everyone who helped, including school staff, the high school, neighbours, friends and family.

"We're just so thankful to everyone. It's really appreciated. They all really went the extra mile."

She said the help and concern they experienced yesterday was one of the main reasons they lived on the West Coast.

"Everyone wants to help - they all care."


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