Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Child put off JUTC bus for messing self

Published:Saturday | May 28, 2016 | 5:00 AM

Glenda Anderson

On Wednesday, May 25, I was jolted into the reality that although we may all speak glowingly of 'every child being our responsibility' and that 'it takes a village to raise a child', not all of us believe it or care enough to practise it.

At approximately 5:30 p.m., I boarded a JUTC bus route No. 30 downtown (Fleet 1489 - Operator - 405285).

Shortly afterwards, a young male student came on board. By the driver's own admission, the child was hesitant to come aboard or move down in the bus.

A buzz started at the front and persons started reacting to what they said was a foul odour. The driver jumped up out of his seat and yelled, "A wah smell so!" With no response, he singled out the youngster, whom he said he noticed was filthy, and shouted, 'Juvenile, a you! COME, COME!!.

The child was put off the bus.

I understand the driver's situation - human faeces can be foul smelling.

BUT THIS IS A CHILD ON THE ROAD AFTER 5:30 P.M and YOU HAVE ALREADY TAKEN HIS FARE.

Couldn't some mercy be extended? Couldn't you have been lenient with him - praying that his stop comes sooner rather than later?

THIS IS A CHILD ON THE ROAD AFTER 5:30P.M and YOU HAVE ALREADY TAKEN HIS FARE.

I asked the driver if he would be refunded, or maybe an appeal made to an inspector so that he could be accommodated on another bus, as he was just a child. The driver said the boy had used his Smarter Card, and as such, he could not refund him and didn't see any further need to concern himself with the situation. He drove away leaving the child.

My letter's purpose is to thank those persons who helped in their own way, because as the driver, in his rant, explained, I "could call anyone that I wanted" but "nothing would come of it'.

I called the police anyway and got a very courteous senior police officer - Inspector Morris, from Kingston Central - who immediately responded and rallied her beat traffic cops to search for the child, who we reasoned must be so humiliated that he would be reluctant to approach another JUTC bus.

Not knowing whether he had enough funds left on his card to get home, we were worried he would be stranded downtown.

She called me back at 10:12 p.m to say her officers had completed a thorough sweep of the area under her instructions and the child could not be located. We hoped that he had got home safe. She checked in again on Thursday morning.

Thank you.

Regarding the JUTC customer service officer, D, who was gentle, pleasant and patient as I related my sometimes emotional version of the matter, she called back twice at 7:14 p.m. and 7:18 p.m. to recheck some details and reassure me that the matter would be investigated. Thank you.

To that small, dark-skinned boy about 10 years old dressed in greyish pants and shirt, I apologise that we, as adults, on that JUTC bus failed to protect you from abuse. By failing to get you home safely even after you had already been so embarrassed in a crowded bus by a loud, heartless driver.

We failed to get you home safely to your family on a dark, rainy night and can only pray and hope that you did. The bus driver is probably right - I don't know the JUTC policy as well as he does - nothing will come of it.

But little one, wherever you are, please be reminded in this Child Month 2016 that there are still good persons out there who care, and even when you feel doubly embarrassed and let down, lift your head up and stay strong.