Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Howay Fat Stuff - The First Race Is At 2.20

The school I had to transport had an 'up and down' reputation.

It didn't disappoint.

"Howay Fat Stuff," greeted the smug schoolboy. "Let's get ganning. The first race is at 2.20." The onslaught of teenagers brought an odd smell onto the bus. It was a mixture of synthetic strawberries, fried egg, cigarettes and fruit chews.

"Are we near Hartlepool?" asked another boy, when we were going down the motorway, about 25 miles away and travelling in the opposite direction.

That was the only polite bit of the trip. The rest was a turbulent tour around the bottom of the swearing dictionary. Some things were fooked. Many were shite. Most were fookin shite. Fortunately the racecourse was only a short hop. They had an exciting day ahead, being given a guided tour of the whole place and seeing the preparations for a day's racing.

They seemed more enthused by the way I drove. "Go for it, Fat Stuff. Smash inta tha' fookin car ower tha'. Goo onnn." The swearing escalated on the return trip. At times it got nasty.

"Turn the radio on Fat Stuff," hissed the cocky lad.

"Sorry, it's broken," I said wimpishly.

"Nah, it 'aint. There's a light on." Rule Number 1 for a bus driver, don't try and make things up. They never miss a trick. "And if you don't put it on there'll be more than a broken radio. There'll be a broken bus driver too."

There is nothing you can do. I couldn't stop - it was a motorway. And to stop would only have shown that the bus driver had lost and the situation would have been exacerbated. I needn't have worried. When we stopped, the teacher kept the cocky boy back on the bus, read him the riot act, gave him detention, told him he was going to be reported to the house tutor and ordered him to apologise to the bus driver.

"Sorry," he whispered.

"I didn't hear you," said the teacher.

"SO-RRRRRR-YYYYYYY," he repeated, louder and with a face of thunder as he got off the bus.

I was gobsmacked. Not for the behaviour of the children, but for the amazing reaction of the teacher. There's hope for those reprobates yet.

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