“Don’t do it,” his friend stressed in a hushed voice, his eyes widening as he began to worry about what Troy was about to do.
But as they moved on the seat again, he knew something wasn’t right. Next to them, there were two girls with tears running down their cheeks. Troy knew what he had to do, he picked up his bag.
Different From The Norm
At Bonita Elementary, the kids lined up along the sidewalk. The school day was over now and the kids just wanted to get home, the bus doors opened as the kids piled in.
The bus vibrated with the laughter and chatter of children. It was a normal average day, but then Troy looked up at the driver’s seat, there was something out of the norm.
Normally, their bus driver was a man, but as Troy looked at the person behind the wheel, he noticed it was an older woman.
She didn’t seem as friendly as the regular bus driver. She ignored the children and just looked straight ahead with a frown forming on her lips. This was the first substitute driver, but Troy noticed a smell as he walked by.
Troy sat down in his seat near the back of the bus but didn’t take his eyes off of the older woman behind the wheel.
It was behavior only a big brother would have – like one with so many siblings. The woman’s hair was thin and withered, she held the steering wheel with her bony knuckles.
They stopped off at the first dropoff point just like normal. But when it was time for their second stop, the woman didn’t even slow down, they just kept driving.
The child whose stop that was looked around in confusion. By the time they had missed their fourth stop, everyone on the bus was wondering was going one. Where were they going?
The kids noticed the right curb come closer into view, then the left curb. It went back and forth between the two sides of the road.
Troy hadn’t kept his gaze off of the woman driving. She was driving recklessly and dangerously. He felt a knot a form in his stomach and he knew he had to do something. “You’ll get in trouble,” his friend said as he pulled him back down into his seat.
The kids heard the horns of cars behind them as the bus was taken up two lanes.
Then the kids felt a sudden change in momentum as the bus stopped suddenly and flung most of the children forward into the seats in front of them. Troy felt the seat hit him hard. That’s when he heard the crying from the seats around him.
Just as quickly as they had stopped the bus was moving again, the environment around the bus like the trees and the buildings soon became a blur as they sped past them.
The bus was now turning onto the highway, every child’s face was filled with fright while the woman had the same emotionless stare she had when Troy first entered the bus.
At that moment Troy remembered something his mother had told him. He knew what he was going to do and he grabbed his backpack.
“Stop!” his friend said, “I don’t want to get in trouble!” Others around him gave the same warning. The bus began vibrating as it got faster and faster. Troy knew this was very dangerous.
Troy got his phone out from his backpack and dialed 911. The operator on the other end calmly asked him what was wrong.
Troy hurriedly told them everything as he looked out of the window to pinpoint where they were. Soon Troy heard the sound of sirens and reassurance washed over him.
Several police cruisers caught up with them, but the woman didn’t seem to notice.
It wasn’t until she was surrounded, and they heard angry instructions over a loudspeaker, did the bus finally slow down and stop … at another kid’s drop off. Officers ran towards the bus.
The first cop flung open the bus doors, took the stairs in one jump, and grabbed the dazed, scraggly woman.
The children heard the click of handcuffs, the scuffle of feet, and a slur of angry words they weren’t allowed to repeat. The smell disappeared as she was pulled out.
The kids might not have heard the final story, but the parents certainly did – and they were all furious.
It turns out the regular driver didn’t show up for work. Karolyn Denise Ray was the substitute called in through a subcontractor … and she had been on illicit drugs. Her punishment?
A charge of “driving under the influence of a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of children,” CBS Sacramento reported.
The school district has also looked into other options for a new bus service. Details of any jail time, etc. have been kept quiet since it’s an ongoing investigation. One thing, however, is certain.
Troy’s actions might seem simple, but they are indeed heroic.
He spotted a problem, decided to act despite others telling him not to, and kept calm enough to give the necessary details. It goes without saying that his mom and the entire family are so very proud of him. So are the rest of the parents.