It's a nightmare scenario for any parent waiting for their child to come home from school. For a few minutes Thursday, one Bryan parent was living out that nightmare, and now, she wants other parents to know so their children return home safely.
Lisa Kean didn't send her daughter Renay to school Friday, and says bus rides in the future probably aren't an option after what may have been a perfect storm of events led to a few moments of panic.
Buses pass Poplar Circle in Bryan every weekday, but for Kean, Thursday marked the first day her daughter, five-year-old Renay, had hopped aboard. It was also a day a substitute driver was at the wheel.
"I don't care if it's my child or anybody else's child," Lisa said. "While you're a sub driver, you're supposed to take care of our babies, our children."
At around 3:15, Renay was on board, and Mom was at her stop. She later learned the bus had dropped her child at another stop 100 yards down the street, but Lisa said she couldn't see Renay down there.
The bus eventually approached the stop Lisa where she was standing, waiting. She flagged down the bus driver.
Kean recalled, "He stopped and said, 'can I help you, ma'am?' I said, 'yes, where's my daughter?' He told me -- his exact words -- 'I'm a sub, it's not my problem. Take it up with transportation.'"
And Kean did. In a voicemail she played for us from a transportation official, he said the driver didn't say anything about making a statement like, "I don't care," and acknowledged it was a sub driver. "Our drivers do not know where all the stops are," the official said.
In a neighborhood that Kean says isn't the best in town, she says she was lucky a group of concerned teens were there to keep Renay.
"We wouldn't be talking about a child being dropped off at the wrong bus stop," she said. "We'd be talking abut a missing child."
It wasn't more than a couple minutes before she had driven down the street and found Renay safe. A day later, a mother is still startled.
"They're going to have sub drivers, make sure the sub drivers know what they're doing, because I don't want this happening to another kid," Kean said.
Bryan ISD released the following statement concerning the incident.
"The incident involved a child who was riding the bus for the first time on the day in question. A substitute driver was driving the route. There is a series of three stops on a short stretch of street, and the child mistakenly got off the bus at a different stop on that street. The parent, who was waiting at the correct stop, flagged down the bus driver at the next stop to inquire about the child. By that time, the child was walking toward the parent.
"An unfortunate set of circumstances - the absence of the regular route driver combined with the child's first day to ride the bus - contributed to the incident. Thankfully, the child was united with the parent very quickly."
For tips on school bus safety, click the link below. You should also talk to kids to make sure they're aware of their correct stop.