As a parent in the Smithtown School District, I got the robo calls, the emails and saw the news reports about the school bus that got lost bringing nine kids home following after-school activities on Tuesday. All the kids made it home safe and according to Newsday, the bus company stepped up, pledging “a complete review” of the incident and offering its “profound apologies to the families.”
Bus company exec Tom McAteer told Newsday that the driver had been handed the wrong student lists and bus route and tried to retrace the route by memory. That evidently didn’t work out so well. “What happened was we made a mistake and we need to understand how it happened. . . . This is a trained driver. This was a mix up. . . . This was human error. . . . We need to understand this, so something like this never happens again,” McAteer said. A model response.
The incident got lots of media play and as a parent of two school-age kids, I would have been freaking out, too. The bus driver hasn’t been named, but I’m sure that person has had a couple of sleepless nights. They’re probably replaying the wrong turns, that blinding sense of panic when you are truly lost, and they’re probably wondering whether they’re going to come home to find a bunch of reporters on their front porch.
Let’s be thankful that all of those kids made it home safely. Then let’s take a moment to appreciate that every wrong turn we make – at work or in life – doesn’t wind up on the news.