Stephanie wanted to get home early to prepare for her husband’s birthday, There was still one kid left on the bus after her final stop, so she told him to get off, never imagining what happened later.
“Yes, Linda, I’ll be home early for Gary’s birthday. Don’t worry, it’s not that cold anyway. I mean for Minnesota. It’s definitely not the worst weather we’ve had,” Stephanie told her friend, Linda, on the phone.
Linda was her husband Gary’s sister, and they were planning on surprising him for his birthday that night at another friend's house. But she needed to be there early to prepare before he got off work.
Normally, Stephanie finishes her routes early, but the cold weather slowed her down that day. She had to drive her school bus slowly and wait for the kids to, at least, reach their houses before driving off. Regardless, Stephanie loved her job and didn’t rush them. However, Gary’s birthday was on her mind.
When she finally reached the end of her route, she asked the last kid, Jimmy, to get off. He was 8 years old, and his house was five minutes away from the bus stop. She would normally watch him from afar as he walked home, but that day, it started snowing heavily.
“Hey, kid. Better rush home before this gets any worse,” she told him.
“Can we wait a bit, Mrs. Tyson? It’s a little scary out there,” Jimmy asked her.
They had a great time at Gary's surprise birthday. | Source: Unsplash
“I can’t wait forever, kid. I need to go home too. Your house is not that far from here. Don’t worry. You just need to run really fast, and your mom will be there with some hot cocoa,” Stephanie said, trying to convince him.
“Ok, if you say so,” Jimmy said and picked up his book bag from his seat. Stephanie opened the door of the bus, and Jimmy jumped down. The boy ran off towards his house, and Stephanie hit the gas to get home.
Gary’s birthday went marvelously. Everyone had a fantastic night, but they couldn’t party too long because it was still a school night. “Darling, my party was wonderful, and the food…hmmm…yummy! Thank you so much,” Gary said as they got home and started preparing for bed.
“Linda helped me a lot. I’m just glad the weather didn’t slow down my route that much,” Stephanie commented.
Stephanie froze when she saw Jimmy's photo on the news | Source: Pexels
“You didn’t have to worry, though. Those kids' safety is all that matters,” Gary added and yawned. For some reason, her husband’s words reminded her of Jimmy. He must be ok at home, right? she thought.
They settled in bed, and she started flipping through the channels until she reached a local news segment and froze when she saw a picture on the screen.
“A young boy got lost earlier today after school and wasn’t found until 10 p.m. He managed to find shelter in a neighbor’s empty dog house, just a two-minute walk away from his home,” the news anchor stated.
“Authorities stated that the boy had some frostbite but is already in stable condition at Oak Valley Clinic. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bernard, are grateful for all the help they received from neighbors and officials during this time,” the newswoman finished.
Mrs. Bernard was sitting outside Jimmy's room at the clinic. | Source: Pexels
“OMG!” Stephanie cried and stood up.
“What? What’s going on, Stephanie?” Gary said, looking up from his phone.
“That was Jimmy! He got lost today! He’s my last stop. I kicked him off my bus, wanting to get home early. He was scared about the storm, but his house was only five minutes away from my stop. This is my fault!” she yelled hysterically.
“Calm down, Stephanie. Please,” her husband replied.
“I have to go see him tomorrow!” Stephanie decided. In the morning, she grabbed her coat and drove off early to see Jimmy. Mrs. Bernard always volunteered at school. Everyone knew her, and Stephanie saw her sitting outside a room when she reached the clinic.
“Mrs. Tyson, what are you doing here?” Mrs. Bernard asked.
Jimmy was actually excited to see her. | Source: Pexels
“I saw the news about Jimmy last night. I had to come see him. How is he doing?” Stephanie asked.
“Oh, he’s fine. He’s just a little spooked and has a bit of frostbite on one toe. But doctors said everything would be all right soon,” Mrs. Bernard explained.
“Thank God!” Stephanie added.
“Thank you for coming, Mrs. Tyson. That was so nice. You always take care of our kids like they’re your own. It’s amazing,” Mrs. Bernard added.
Stephanie felt deeply guilty because she had not watched Jimmy properly, but she couldn’t tell his mom that. Luckily, a nurse called Mrs. Bernard. “You can go inside and see Jimmy while I go deal with some paperwork,” she told Stephanie.
She walked in, and Jimmy looked up from his tablet. “Mrs. Tyson. You’re here!” Jimmy said cheerfully.
She begged for Jimmy's forgiveness. | Source: Unsplash
“Hey, kid. I heard you got lost yesterday, but you have some crazy survival skills, huh?” Stephanie said, hoping he would find her funny.
“Yeah. It was scary at first, but then, it was like an adventure. And it was warm inside the house. I used a dog blanket, but my toe still got a bit frozen. It’ll be fine soon,” Jimmy said. Stephanie couldn’t believe how brave this young boy was.
“Jimmy. It’s my fault. I should have waited with you inside the bus or walked you home. I was selfish. Can you forgive me?” Stephanie pleaded with the young boy.
“It’s not your fault. I got a bit confused with all the snow, then my glasses fogged. The worst part is that I was right next door. So embarrassing! It won’t happen again,” Jimmy said vehemently.
Stephanie walked Jimmy home every day since then. | Source: Pexels
“No, it definitely won't happen again,” Stephanie assured the boy.
Since that day, she watched over each kid on her route and waited for them to get inside their house before driving off. She also got off the bus and walked Jimmy directly to his house.
Furthermore, she started volunteering at the children’s wing of the clinic every weekend and was more conscientious about kids’ safety. No kid will ever be harmed on my watch again! she thought.
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