A father from Arva is demanding change from a local bus line, after his daughter was dropped off at the wrong stop.
Last Wednesday afternoon, Brad and his wife were waiting for their 4-year-old daughter to be let off the bus following her first day of junior kindergarden at Centennial Central Public School in Arva.
When she never showed up, Brad contacted both the bus line and the school, who weren’t able to find his daughter.
“So I called the Police and gave them the story,” said Brad. “I told them where they were, gave them all the details and told them what school I was at, Centennial Central in Arva, and it was actually London Police who I was talking to, so they transferred me to OPP because of the jurisdiction, so I gave them the story, and as I was almost finished telling them the story, London Police got dispatched back in and said, ‘We’ve found her, we’ve found your daughter!'”
Brad says the hour that his daughter was missing was the scariest hour of his life.
“That was the worst hour of my life, for sure.”
It turns out Brad’s daughter was dropped off at the wrong bus stop.
He tells AM980 the most amazing part of the story is that it wasn’t Police or the bus line that found his daughter, it was a concerned 11-year-old girl who spotted the 4-year-old looking lost on the sidewalk.
“She told her bus driver to stop the bus because there was a child that looked like there were no parents around,” said Brad. “She poked her head out of the bus and said, ‘Little girl, can I help you? Do you know where your parents are?’ and she didn’t say anything. She kept going, and she ran after my daughter because she was getting close to the road, and grabbed her and said, ‘Can I help you? Do you know where your parents are? Are you lost?’ and my daughter said, ‘I don’t know where I am,’ but she was able to tell her her address.”
Brad doesn’t want this to happen to any other parent, so he contacted Kevin Langs, the owner of “Langs Bus Lines” which operates the bus.
“I said at the very least, you need to switch out the driver, he needs to go on a different run, he needs to do office duties, something, and I told him, I said, ‘I’m not going to tell you how to run your company, if it was me, he’d be terminated,’ and I said, ‘I’m not going to tell you how to run your company, but something has to be done about this, it’s not acceptable!’ and he said, ‘Oh yeah, we’re looking into it, we need to do our own internal investigation and everything, but we don’t want to get too far into switching drivers,’ which blew my mind,” said Brad.
Brad doubts the company is taking the matter seriously.
“I’ve been in touch with the bus company twice now, and they’re basically shrugging it off saying, ‘Oh, we’ll talk to the driver and try and make sure this doesn’t happen’ and I mean, that’s not good enough for me, I told them, I said, ‘You didn’t lose a backpack on the bus, you lost a child!’ How can you lose a child? I just want to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
The Southwestern Ontario Student Transportation Services is the transportation consortium for the London District Catholic School Board and the Thames Valley District School Board and while it cannot comment on specific cases an official stresses there are protocols in place to deal with human error.
“An incident such as this is not the start to the school year that we would like to see,” Chief Administrative Officer Maureen Cosyn-Heath tells AM980, “but it does give us an opportunity to kind of regroup and make sure that we’re extra vigilant about our young riders.”
Cosyn-Heath says drivers are employed by the bus company, which is expected to conduct an internal investigation.
“They provide re-training right away to the driver, they review training materials with them, policies and procedures, and then they determine if there’s disciplinary action that’s warranted.”
As for concerned parents and guardians, Cosyn-Heath encourages everyone to head to the My Big Yellow Bus website for information on their practices or contact the school for specific concerns.
AM980 contacted Kevin Langs of Langs Bus Lines, who refused to comment on the story.