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Driver dismissed for good deed
Colleen Schmidt, CTV calgary
Published Tuesday, March 4, 2014 4:55PM MST
Last Updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 6:26PM MST
A local school bus driver was fired after she took matters into her own hands when her bus wouldn't start and picked up kids in her own vehicle to protect them from the freezing temperatures.
Kendra Lindon won't be driving the kids at F.E. Osborne Junior High, in the city’s northwest, home from school anymore.
Lindon drove a bus for First Student Canada for eight-years and recently lost her job for doing what she thought was right.
“They're like my kids, I've known them since kindergarten. A couple of these kids have been in my son’s class, in my son’s kindergarten class, all the way up to Grade 8,” said Lindon.
Lindon's bus refused to start in the yard at 6:00 a.m. on a morning when temperatures were in the minus 20s.
She says First Student promised to send a replacement bus to pick up the kids.
She says she was reluctant to trust that promise because the exact same scenario played out the day before and no replacement bus came, leaving the students to fend for themselves in dangerously cold conditions.
“They’re there on their own and they have to make the decision to, how long they’re going to wait and a lot of the times they wait probably 15, 20 minutes and then they don’t know if a bus is coming or what’s going on and they go home and phone their parents or make other arrangements or not go to school,” said Lindon.
On the day in question, Lindon picked up six kids, who were waiting on her route, in her own SUV.
She admits that two kids were without seatbelts because there weren’t enough in the vehicle but says she thought that outweighed the risk of frostbite.
One parent reported her but many others applauded her.
“My philosophy is, you're doing the right thing, you're helping these kids out, you're keeping them out of the cold, you're offering them at least a warm place to stay until the bus comes rather than having them sit out there for 30 minutes until the bus comes,” said parent, Linda Sakatch.
First Student fired Lindon that very day.
The termination letter says what she did was "unacceptable" and "unsafe".
CTV Calgary Consumer Specialist Lea Williams-Doherty contacted the bus company and was referred to its Cincinnati headquarters. Lea’s phone call was never returned.
Lindon says if there is a policy prohibiting what she did, she didn't know about it.
She says she was following her instinct as a mother and not protocol.
“I loved it. I loved driving the bus, I loved the kids, I loved the other drivers, I loved what I did,” said Lindon.
She says that she would take her job back if it was offered to her despite what happened.
(With files from Lea Williams-Doherty)