Everybody Has a Story: Snakes on a school bus fail to rattle driver

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I was a registered nurse for 27 years and felt like I needed a change. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do next. When my nursing supervisor called and asked me what I was going to do, I said, "I have no idea," and she replied, "Why don't you become a school bus driver? You like to drive, and you like children." So that's what I did.

I was 54 years old at that time. We had several phases in the teaching of a school bus driver, and when we got to the practical part of driving the bus, I had horrible nightmares. Usually, I would dream that we would be going down a steep hill and the brakes would go out, and I would go through an intersection and plow through the cars. I would wake up standing in the room. I would think to myself, I need to get my head examined. But I became a school bus driver, anyway.

One day, I was driving middle school students. We were on our way to school in the morning and there was all kinds of excitement at the back of the bus (that's usually where excitement was). It was distracting me, so I pulled over, took the key out of the ignition and walked slowly to the back of the bus. "What is taking place back here? It is making it difficult with all the excitement for me to concentrate on my driving," I said.

One boy pointed to another boy and said, "He has 19 garter snakes in his pocket!"

This wasn't the place for show and tell. I said, "You know you're not supposed to have animals on the bus." All the time he was studying the floor. I said, "I could report you to the office at school, or I could have you sit in the front seat for a period of time, but I'm not going to do that. I feel you are going to be responsible now and not do this again."

Sure enough, he never did it again. I often wonder what happened to that young boy with the pocketful of snakes.

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