When my granddaughter was in fifth grade, she was accompanied off her school bus by a uniformed police officer. The only crime she had committed was not getting off at her assigned stop. I will add that this was the first day of school and mistakes can be made. She will never forget that day, and understandably, does not like discussing it. I have her permission to share this blog with you. Names will be changed to protect the innocent.
I will call my granddaughter, 'Kaylee' and we will refer to the officer as, let's say, 'Officer Matt'. Kaylee's mom, whom we will randomly name, 'Shannon', was anxiously awaiting her daughter to emerge from that big yellow monster after her first day of school. Buses snaked down their sub-division for what seemed hours. Finally, Shannon telephoned Officer Matt and described her panic: Kaylee was not off the bus. Perhaps Kaylee had forgotten the bus number and had gotten on the wrong bus! Officer Matt, assured Shannon, that she did indeed, know the proper number. Perhaps, thought Officer Matt--she had been abducted or was left at the school all alone. Could she be in a hostage situation? His mind turned over various dark scenarios.
Kaylee sat in her seat, nervous that the bus had gone by her house and street, without stopping. Thinking that it would turn and come from another direction, my granddaughter stayed put. Soon, they were heading out in a whole other neighborhood and Kaylee began to question her fate. At that moment, the bus was stopped by flashing lights and Officer Matt boarded the bus. What would happen next, would be etched in Kaylee's young memory forever.
"Is Kaylee C--------- on this bus?" boomed the uniformed officer. Now, you must realize that on the first day of school, drivers usually do not yet know their riders. As the driver shouted out her name, Kaylee rose slowly from her seat to face this foreboding arm of the law; complete with firearm, pepper spray, and Taser. She had been identified, terrified, and was now being escorted off the bus--against her will.
As they exited the bus, Officer Matt radioed Shannon, "I got her."
Shannon responded, "You've got her? Like off the bus?"
"Affirmative," replied Officer Friendly.
Then the interrogation began, with the officer questioning his young suspect on her negligence to get off of the bus. What was her motive? Why did she create such worry for her mother? My granddaughter was then forced to ride in the back of the squad car like a common criminal.
I would ask her later how she felt and her response was, "Embarrassed! Totally annoyed! Mortified! I would not say one word to him! I just stared out the window."
Shannon was quite relieved that Officer Matt had found Kaylee, but knew that the conversation at home was going to be a bit precarious. The rescuing officer had to return to his district as his shift was just beginning, but not before even more details unfolded.
Kaylee explained that the driver did not stop at her street, but she thought he would swing back around and go by her house. When this did not occur, Kaylee just did what Kaylee does best; show up, sit up, and shut up. Hardly one to break a rule, she decided to just, well, ride it out. Until Officer Matt hollered her name for all to hear.
This story has a happy ending. No child came up missing, no arrests were made, no one was injured in this police action. But this tale has become a family favorite narrative.....
"Daddy....do you know how much you embarrassed me when you climbed on the bus?"
"What'd I do?"asked Officer Matt. (His standard retort for any and all mischief he created from birth to thirty-five years of age).
"Dad....I'm in fifth grade. All of the kids are going to make fun of me because my father came on the bus and took me off!"
"Well, it's okay because after I got you in the squad car, I just told everyone you were a wanted felon, and I had a warrant for your arrest.'
Officer Matt just laughed his little quirky giggle and did what all good law enforcement officers do: gave his daughter a kiss and a hug and went off to protect and serve the city.
Kaylee has no comment, but sources close to the situation know for a fact, that the suspect was plotting a homicide, or at least a meaningful misdemeanor.
I pity the day she starts dating.