Somebody is a school bus driver. Somebody has one of the most responsible and potentially disastrous jobs in the world. A job… that if not conducted carefully and correctly by Somebody every trip, every minute, every second, every time, could result in terrible, grievous loss. The loss of life. Children’s lives. Everybody’s children.

Yet most Everybody often takes Somebody for granted. Everybody demands safe and diligent transportation for his or her school children and expects Somebody to do it. Nobody will accept substandard safety practices where children are at risk.

Everybody expects stellar safe records and flawless performance from Somebody. There is no compromise with flawless performance from Somebody. There is no compromise with lives of children. A poor job performance is NOT acceptable. Somebody must do it…right…perfectly…every day, every hour, every time. Nobody gets a chance to rewind a bus accident. To do the job over. To correct a mistake.

Everybody will forgive some mistakes, but not just Anybody will forgive Somebody, if a child’s death is Somebody’s fault. Somebody should have done it right. Somebody should have done it better. Somebody dropped the ball. And Everybody blames Somebody and sometimes the blame is justified. Somebody’s incompetence is often Everybody’s nightmare.

Poor Somebody – not many jobs demand this kind of perfection, this level of performance. A plane pilot, a space shuttle commander, a ship’s captain, a train engineer, and a school bus driver all must perform to this level of competence. Yet a school bus driver is often disregarded as Somebody who is not much of Anybody. Just a little Somebody… but with a huge responsibility that affects Everybody. Do the job well and Somebody is Everybody’s friend. Do it poorly and Somebody is Everybody’s focus for negligence.

So why would Anybody do Somebody’s job? What drives Somebody to drive Everybody’s children? To take the risk? To accept the performance perfection of an airline pilot? It can’t just be the money! The pay is just not that great. Just dimes compared to the pilots’ pay – yet Everybody demands the same safety performance of Somebody the bus driver.

A pilot is Somebody that Anybody will respect and admire. However a school bus driver is Somebody that most Everybody often overlooks and disregards. A pilot and a bus driver are often viewed as the top and the bottom of job positions in transportation- but the same perfect performance is expected of both, by Everybody. Every time. Failure is simply not an option for Somebody.

So how does Everybody’s Somebody do it? How does Somebody maintain perfection in performance, day in and day out? Season after season? Year after year? For 30+ years?

First and foremost, Somebody loves children. Everybody’s children. That love is what drives them to perfection. Somebody cares enough to get up in the morning as early as 5:00 a.m. to prepare for their performance. They prepare their minds for work and most of them will pray for guidance and ask for help from above to do their job perfectly. Somebody is getting up, getting ready, getting excited, and drinking coffee while Everybody is still sleeping. Somebody is going through a pre-trip inspection of his or her bus. Somebody got up in time to do it right! Perfect performance demands a bus in perfect condition by Somebody! Somebody reviews the last safety meetings in their mind. Somebody remembers all the hours of Defensive Driving instruction and embraces the training procedures. Somebody is thinking of blood borne pathogens and first aid for children. Reviewing CPR and choking procedures, just in case today will be the day Somebody will need to act on their training to save a child’s life.

Somebody resolves not to use a cell phone while driving. Somebody refuses to be impaired by drugs, alcohol or medicines. Somebody makes sure they are rested and alert. Somebody guards against distractions of ANY kind while driving and refuses to allow brain cells to be used for self pity, discouragement, rebellion, resentment, anger, or vengeance when children are in their care.

Somebody refuses to eat too much while on long trips – lest they be “over feed” and become sleepy and lethargic. Somebody rests in the bus rather than get too involved and worked up in children’s activities that could tire Somebody. Somebody keeps a level head in heavy traffic and makes careful, safe driving decisions. Somebody is very focused and busy making hundreds of driving decisions per mile.

Somebody is wondering what he or she will say to a crying child, who’s hurt feelings need soothing. And thinking what to say to the child that did the hurting. Somebody judges conflicts, ties a shoe, gives advice, cleans up vomit, sweeps the bus floor, cleans the windows etc. etc.

Somebody must step up to the plate and hit a HOME BUS RUN every time they are at bat IN THE BUS. A strike OUT means Everybody loses. And Nobody wants Anybody to lose on a bus run, so Somebody MUST bring the little base runners on the bus, HOME SAFE.

 And Nobody sees the depth of Somebody’s job. And Everybody is blissfully unaware of Somebody’s daily influence on the children’s safe journey from home to school, and back again. On activity trips when the hours are long and late and most Everybody has gone to bed or been relieved of their job duties, Somebody is still up, still performing, still working to bring children safely home.

And as night falls, Somebody sees the Deer that are dying to cross the road, and are on double alert to protect the children Dear, lest they become Deer dead children. And Nobody notices much, how dangerous and responsible driving a bus really is, until Somebody is less than perfect, and then Everybody cares.

Most Everybody’s normal quitting time is 5:00 p.m., but many are the times that Somebody doesn’t see their home and their bed till after 12:00 a.m. But for the most part Somebody goes to bed with peace of mind because a piece of their cargo is in their heart. And Thank God for another day of safe performance.

Somebody knows that their job performance is as important to life, health and happiness, as the pilot flying a plane.

And even when Nobody seems to care, Somebody will still just get up and carry the ball again and again for the good of Everybody… because Everybody thinks Somebody should do it!

So Somebody does what Nobody wants to do, for the love of Everybody’s children drives their heart and their bus.

God Bless the school bus drivers. Anybody and Everybody’s Nobody who is a REAL Somebody. A

Somebody with a pilot’s performance and a captain’s honor. That makes Everybody glad that Somebody is a school bus driver.

Sheila Zwahlen, Columbus