Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Paintballers Do It 'Til Their Paintballs Burst

The driver appeared in his car at the depot. There were several hints that this was a part time driver who has a passion for America and would really love to be siting on a beach in Florida rather than being here today. "Paintballers do it - til their paintballs burst" blazed in day-glo green lettering from the bumper sticker. Attached to the aerial was a gridiron helmet with Mickey Mouse ears sticking out the sides. This, though, was mild, as this driver often rolled up in an old US Military pick up truck, which used to tow planes at one of their now redundant British air bases.

The local school run had a Christmas feel to it. The children's breakfast normally consisted of a packet of crisps and a can of some high energy drink. Today the bus was littered with After Eight wrappers. Either these were a leftover from Christmas or there was a buy one get one free on at the local supermarket.

As I had warmed up the bus, I wrote out the tachograph disc, opened the front of it, as I do everytime I get into a bus, and the whole thing came off it's hinges and wires protruded out of the dashboard. It had happened on my very first morning and had induced blind panic. This time there was a milder form of panic as the words of the mechanic echoed around my head:

'Don't worry - that'll just be the newness of it."

If I was having problems, it paled into insignificance compared with another driver. There was a hive of activity in the office. A hive of activity so early in the morning, usually spellt trouble.

The driver had left at 4 o'clock in the morning to pick up a school and bring them to an outward bound centre. There was another bus waiting at the school, when he arrived. Both buses seemed to have been booked for the same job. All hell broke loose, The school tried to find a way out of this nightmare and potentially costly situation. It got worse before it got better.

"It's a beautiful place where you are going up North, isn't it?" our driver had casually said to the other driver.

"No I'm not going North, I'm going West, less than an hour away." he replied. It dawned upon them that not only were there two buses from different companies for the same job, but one of the buses was going to the wrong place, had quoted for this and was not looking forward to the prospect of losing money by taking them twice the distance for the same price.

Our driver took them. I met up with the bus when it returned to the depot. I had to clean it up inside for a fast turnaround as it was taking another load of schoolchildren down to somewhere in Manchester. It was an unpleasant task. They had not told anyone that some of their children had been sick down the back of the bus.

C'est la vie. Pass the Detol. Prime up the the mop and get on with it. The day was about to get more varied.

No comments:

Post a Comment