It is 5pm, the phone rings and it’s the bus company. We’re very sorry, but the morning bus driver is going to be out tomorrow. We don’t have a substitute driver (thank you California budget crisis). The bus that has room for him will be there to pick up your son at 8:30.
At this point I finally use my words. “Excuse me? You do realize school begins at 8:05, right?” Gal on the phone says, “Well, yes ma’am but we can’t get there any sooner. “ My Jersey comes out front and center. “What you are saying is that kids on THIS route don’t get the same consideration as those going to regular classes. It is okay for THESE kids to be late to school. Obviously you are only going to send someone after the other routes are over. You know what, please don’t trouble yourselves, I will gladly drive my son 25 minutes out-of-the-way to make sure he arrives to school on time tomorrow”, CLICK.
God that felt good. The click makes it, it really does. Especially when dealing with a school system that feels children with any disabilities are second class. Her only saving grace was that she was not standing in front of me at the time. The snarly scowl that accompanies that voice is really the icing on the cake.
This was Tuesday night.
Wednesday morning comes, and the kiddo is happy, he gets extra time in the morning since there isn’t going to be a bus waiting outside our door at 7:05 am. We get ourselves together, drive down to school, I double back north, and get to work about 20 minutes late. It’s only one day, no big deal.
Tonight at 7:30 the phone rings again. You guessed it, it’s the bus company and lo and behold, no driver again tomorrow morning. New plot twist you say, why yes, just for the heck of it, and since life is too dull and boring, let’s announce that the driver won’t be the rest of the week.
Okay, I tell the new gal on the phone (somehow I think yesterday’s gal won’t be calling me again) that while work doesn’t appreciate me being late, thankfully they are human and understand these things happen. I can drive the kiddo in again Thursday morning.
Now it is my turn to add a plot twist. I tell her that while taking him tomorrow is no issue, we do have a problem if this lingers to Friday. I have to be in early (it is a non-starter, written in concrete), and my husband has a 7 am conference call with Sweden, then I stop talking.
Silence. That is what I hear on the other end of the phone. Not one word comes out of this gal’s mouth. Now in negotiations, the first one to speak is the one who loses the most. The person who wrote that saying, never negotiated with me.
“I don’t know if you are grasping this but, if you cannot make suitable arrangements to pick my son up and get him to school ON TIME Friday, as you are contractually obligated to do, my son will have to miss a day of school. Do you think this is acceptable?”
Now it was my turn to be silent. “No ma’am. That is not good. Let me see what I can work out.”
Dollars to donuts I get a call on Thursday night as if this conversation never took place, but that is fodder for another rant.