Letters for Friday, September 24, 2021

Try getting into a school bus driver’s seat

Mr. Hornbeck, in regards to your letter on Sept. 20, “Good riddance to school bus drivers.”

Why don’t you do a search on Craigslist Kaua‘i Jobs or Jobs Indeed on Kaua‘i and apply yourself to become a school bus driver? Or drive up on Papalina Road and have a look at the bright school bus yellow banner that has been up on the garage wall of Yamaguchi’s Bus service for the last two years. Oh, yes, there is a shortage of school bus drivers. So why don’t you try applying? Then, take the required four written tests, along with the driving test with the large school bus through Lihu‘e town on a busy afternoon. After passing that, go and have your physical along with a hearing and eye exam. Oh, and don’t forget the drug test, too (good luck with passing all that).

So, two bus drivers quit because of COVID testing, yet how many are still out there waking up at 4:30 a.m. to be at the baseyard by 5:30 a.m. to do a pre-check on their buses each and every morning and be on the roads by 6 a.m. to start their first pickup of the day.

After dropping off the first route at the designated school, we then do a turnaround to continue with a second route at another area.

And there are some of us, like myself, who have a third route to complete and drop off at another school no later than 7:40 a.m. We service elementary, middle school and high school. We then return back to the baseyard to begin cleaning our bus which includes sweeping, sanitizing all seats, windows, handrails and everything else that has been touched.

This procedure is done after every morning and afternoon bus runs. That’s a lot of responsibility for one school bus driver to carry out every day. We school bus drivers never signed up for all these added-on duties that were put on us these last two years (kind of admired those two who quit, but good luck to them; you will be missed).

How about you try sitting in a school bus driver’s seat. When we, as drivers in this position, it’s not just driving. It’s watching the roads all around us, looking into the rearview mirror to keep an eye on the students and constantly reminding them to keep their face masks on, to remain in their seats at all times, and to keep their hands to themselves. REPEATEDLY. This will occur on every route when having 40 to 50 students on board. Oh yeah, no such thing as social distancing on a school bus. Let’s not forget about the students who are on the bus that have not been vaccinated, either because of age or their parents are afraid of the vaccine. That can be anywhere from half or more that could be spreading this virus onto each other.

We school bus drivers and also grandmothers “who care about children” are also at risk of getting COVID while driving. Then, there will be 5,000 parents driving their children to school because all the school bus drivers will be in quarantine.

Hey, then we all would qualify for unemployment! Because it’s a job-related reason. (Just a thought!)

Pam Courtney, school bus driver, Kekaha

First responders are caring professionals

Today (Sept. 22), we were activated to go to a nearby Wailua hale of a dear elder friend/couple for an “unresponsive” event. We all assessed the situation, a DNR was in place, so noted confusion, not knowing how to act. Eventually, I called 911, whereby the dispatcher wahine, long story short, said she would send an officer as a “welfare check.”

I was able to rouse kupuna man. Ended up that fire and EMS came to the scene, and it was determined, via the doctor of this patient, to be brought to the Wilcox Hospital ER.

A more age-mature local man, apparently the fire crew’s chief, knew kupuna man. He mentioned the name of this person as eight-plus personnel entered the hale. I asked but didn’t catch his name, as I couldn’t hear through mask-wearing, what the fireman was saying. Meh…need hearing aids, I guess, and thicker glasses.

Was I actually these people’s age once? HOY! As me and hubby quickly advance forward, there is a lot to reconsider with DNR-type event happenings, that me, Jr. and our son discussed this evening. Above and beyond trust documents that we have in order. However, Long-term care is something we never considered, Yikes! WHAT if???

Anyway, we Kauaians are so proud to have such caring professionals to assist, and I just wanted the TGI community tenants in particular to know this: PD, fire, EMS and Medpros.

Lastly, I am opposed to union negotiations that cause KFD to attend to a non-fire happening or their advancing two huge machines with sirens advancing toward our location. Apparently, their GPS isn’t working properly or they got lost going down Kamalu Road, then up from Wailua soccer field park to our location. But that’s another writing to address.

Debra Kekaualua, Kapa‘a

These 3 young men were helpful

While driving down Makaha Ridge road on Monday, Sept. 20, just about three-quarters of a mile, I came upon three young men. They were stopping anyone traveling down on that road.

They informed me that there was a power line down across the road, and it was arcing.

These three young men (don’t know who they were…smiles!).

Kudos to these three men!

Howard Tolbe, ‘Ele‘ele

  1. Doug September 24, 2021 10:54 am Reply

    Kudos Pam for the job that you do. I don’t know how you handle it every day, especially keeping the kids who were not raised right (to respect other kids/listen to their elders) in line. That to me would be the toughest part of the job, keeping order while driving! When more and more parents have to figure out how to get their kids to school as more and more bus drivers quit, maybe you will finally get the respect you deserve from people like the original letter writer. Mahalo!

  2. manogindashadow0711 September 24, 2021 12:00 pm Reply

    Two of my sisters (one decease, now) both drove school buses and they experience what you go through Pam. Kudos to all school bus drivers!

    1. Kauaidaddy September 25, 2021 8:40 am Reply

      Much respect and appreciation Pam. Thank you for keeping our keiki safe.

  3. Doris Jaynes September 24, 2021 5:24 pm Reply

    Thanks Pam for hanging in there with a job that many don’t think about. it’s a big responsibility that takes patience and hard work along with all the work it takes just to qualify for the job. And our teachers are crying because they have to swab desks and chairs. What do they think bus drivers, restaurant workers, nurses , county office workers and hospital workers and nurses go through. It is a fact of life in almost every public setting. Thanks for what you do each day and for reminding us what it takes to get the job done.

  4. curious dog September 24, 2021 6:33 pm Reply

    911 hit & miss in Wailua. Texting while doing CPR on a loved one. This really happened. Recently.

    FIX 911 system or expect lawsuits.

    Mayor, are you paying attention?

  5. Kauaidoug September 25, 2021 7:30 am Reply

    And Pam don’t forget the FBI background test! Pam you nailed the job description right on the head! Now, why someone won’t get a vaccination exposed to a whole lot of germs day in and day out is beyond me.

    1. Kauaidaddy September 25, 2021 9:38 am Reply

      Auwe kauaidoug…you almost said something nice to Pam.

  6. Kauaidaddy September 25, 2021 9:39 am Reply

    Auwe kauaidoug…you almost said something nice to Pam.

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