Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse...

I know we have all had "one of those days". Of course at 55 I've probably had more than most of you reading this post.

Well, today was a keeper. It didn't start out too bad, except for the rain (which eventually proved to be of significance as you will see).

I got to the church office and everything started as a normal day. I had my usual Tuesday 9 am meeting with the senior pastor as we were meeeting we got the knock on his door. I'll never forget those chilling words from our receptionist "Sorry, but it's an emergency".

Let me start at the beginning. We have 5 church vehicles. One of our church school classes was taking a field trip to the Really Big City (not to be confused with the Big City of this past weekend's post). Anyway, our "big bus" which is one of those 30 year old converted school busses that the schools gave up on 10 years ago for good reason, would not start. Dead as the proverbial doornail. No problem though, as we just purchased a used, although quite nice, 30 passenger "transit" type bus. It was used by the previous owners to give city tours of a Really Really Big City.

So the school took the newer transit bus and headed off to the Really Big City. About 20 minutes after leaving, we get the "emergency" call. Seems the "new" bus has broken down on the interstate with 14 elementary school students and 8 adults on board. After some scrambling we determined that we could take our two smaller vehicles and fit everyone on them and allow them to continue their trip. Getting the bus towed became my problem.

As this is going on, two phone calls come in to the church, both directed at me, and both anonymous. They were left on the general voice mail box, as cowards are prone to do. One of the calls warned the staff that I am a "false" Christian who rents apartments to "drug users" (Another REALLY long story). The other call (from the same person I believe) criticized us for taking a short-term mission trip to Honduras instead of helping those just down the street. Of course, since the individual didn't have the consideration to actually talk to me about either of these concerns, I was unable to set them straight!

So the day is not going so well anymore.

We take the two vehicles to where the bus is broken down and of all places on the interstate to have trouble, they are stopped right beside a guardrail. They weren't more than 1 foot off the interstate, and there wasn't more than a foot between them and the guardrail. Getting the kids out the side door was impossible, so they had to go out the back. Of course, the bus designers in their ingenuity, placed a seat BOLTED TO THE FLOOR directly in front of the rear emergency exit. So the only way for anyone to get out of the bus was to climb over that seat and exit through the rear door. Now for the kids it wasn't too much of a problem, but you should have seen the adults trying to get off. (Keep in mind it's raining cats and dogs by now).

We finally get them all loaded and send them on their way. That leaves 3 of us (we had one of the aides from the school follow us to give us a ride back) waiting for the tow truck that we ASSUMED the school principle had called. Point of note: NEVER ASSUME. After about a half an hour waiting for the tow truck and getting rocked by the wind from the 3000 or so semis that blew by without even attempting to change lanes, we decided to send the lady on ahead to the next exit to call the school to see if the principal had indeed called the tow truck. Guess what?

To be continued....