A Jefferson County, Alabama, mother says she was “furious” once she learned a substitute bus driver had dropped her 5-year-old son at the wrong bus stop on Aug. 10.
Before the anger, though, Laura Lyman said she was just really worried.
Lyman told WBRC News she made it until 3:40 p.m. — 20 minutes after her son Gabriel was supposed to be dropped at her house — before her mind started racing.
“First I was like, ‘What if the bus broke down, what if the bus was in an accident?’” she said, listing off the scenarios that had run through her head.
“My little 5-year-old is out there,” she told WBRC she remembers thinking. “Nobody knows where he’s at. What if somebody grabs him, what if he gets lost?”
It turns out, Gabriel had been dropped at the wrong bus stop, at a local grocery store, about a mile from his house.
“When I found that out I was furious with the bus driver,” Layman said.
Irondale Police Detective Michael Mangina described what happened during the brief search for the boy.
“There were some teachers from the school that came to the store,” Mangina said. “They were able to communicate with the bus driver and the bus driver came back to the store and took the little boy home.”
It reportedly took about an hour to reunite Gabriel with his mom.
Nez Calhoun, a representative for Jefferson County Schools said Gabriel’s driver that day was a substitute who made a mistake. District officials will be reviewing procedures with all drivers, including substitutes, to make sure the incident isn’t repeated, Calhoun said.
Layman said she was tempted to keep Gabriel from riding the bus in the future, but she is going to continue to let him because he enjoys it.
“I'm grateful that it turned out the way it did and didn't turn out a whole lot worse,” the mother said.
And much the same could be said for a 6-year-old Indianapolis boy who was also dropped at the wrong bus stop earlier this year.
But where Gabriel might have had to endure the sweltering Alabama summer heat, Cameron Beers had to trudge through the snow of a Midwestern winter to get home, WXIN News reported.
Cameron was accidentally dropped at the wrong stop — also by a substitute driver— about a half mile from his home in March.
His mom, Kelly Beers, said the mistake meant her son had to cross a busy street and walk through deep snow to get home.
“I just saw him run around the corner with snow up to his knees,” Beers told WXIN. “His face was red and he was crying. I’m like. ‘What happened?’ He said, ‘The bus driver dropped me off at the wrong stop and he wouldn’t listen to me when I told him I don’t live there.’”
Officials from Decatur Township Schools speculated Cameron, confused by an early morning bus substitution, inadvertently hopped on the wrong bus in the afternoon. That bus took him on the wrong route, officials said.
School spokeswoman Suzanne Rothenburg said at the time district officials would investigate the incident further.