Sunday, November 04, 2012

#4 It Could Have Been Worse

I had a great post in my mind last night for tonight's post. I had it all mapped out. Little did I know that I would have something unexpected today that would give me a whole new post to share. I'm thankful tonight for something that, upon time and reflection, could have been a lot worse.

I have driven shuttles here for a little over three years. I figured I'd write about the great things about shuttles, and I imagine that will come in future posts, but something happened today on shuttles for the first time since I've been here. I need to explain a little though, for my new readers. *grin*

I drive a shuttle for IHOP-KC. A shuttle is like a big van. It holds a total of 15 passengers, which includes me. If I have more than that, I have to have a special license, so I stick to the shuttle. *grin* It's big, but I've learned how to navigate it pretty well. It's like anything else, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

We also have one bus that helps us. The bus is only with us during peak times and helps eliminate lines fairly quickly. I'm thankful for the bus during those rush times, as it can take 60-ish people in one trip, while we're doing 14 passengers at a time. It's helpful, to say the least. And, up until today, we've never had a problem with shuttles and buses in the same area. You might see where this is going for my post today. *grin*

On my first trip to FCF, I was told to pick up the Prayer Room line. Not a problem at all, as it doesn't matter to me which route I am told to drive. I pulled up to the stop and loaded. This was also at the same time as the rush of first service getting out. Needless to say, the parking lot was nuts. It's always nuts, but we've always been blessed and never had a problem during my shift. *grin*

So, as I waited for my passengers to load, our shift leader to the bus driver to pick up overflow. In fairness, the bus driver isn't with us normally, so she didn't understand how things work on Sundays with us. Normally, the shuttles move, and then the bus pulls in. I thought that's what she was going to do. Instead, she started to pull in the lot. This initially didn't bother me, as I thought she had enough room. She may have, but she didn't navigate it quite right.... that's when my stress level went up quite a bit. My passengers saw it coming too, which didn't help.

As she went to pass me on the left, she started to move toward me. My passengers said, "The bus is going to hit us." I thought she was going to pull it back out, as most of our drivers are REALLY good about looking back in mirrors and adjusting. In hindsight, I wish I had gotten on the radio and told her to move. At any rate, she didn't, and the bus hit the side mirror on my shuttle and rocked the shuttle.

At that point, my adrenaline was pumping because right before the hit, my whole body had tensed because I knew it was going to hit. The bus driver had NO IDEA she had hit us, but boy did my passengers know it. They were MAD. Truthfully, I imagine all of us had adrenaline running, as it scared us. I immediately got on the radio, and kindly told her that next time she needed to wait until shuttles were out of the way. I did this for two reasons, one was because she needed to know she had hit us, and two because I had to do something to keep my passengers calm. They were REALLY mad. On top of that, because of the bus, I had to wait for her to load the entire bus before I could leave. (Which is another reason we usually let shuttles go first.) They were not happy with me.

I explained that she didn't do it on purpose, and that the good news was that we were fine. They didn't seem to calm down enough to understand that. We rode in silence after that. I felt bad, but it wasn't my fault. I was just parked, and the bus hit us.

I will admit, after that, the shift was REALLY hard for me. I was pleasant, nice, and no one knew that it had shaken me. Truthfully it did.

The more I thought about it as I drove, the more I kept thinking, "If it had moved over just a little more, I would have had the brunt of it all because of that angle." While true, time tonight had shown me that wasn't the whole story.

The whole story was that it could have been a lot worse, and THANKFULLY it wasn't. God was with us, and He protected us. I remember in that moment, right before impact, I said a silent prayer to Him. He answered it. We still got hit, but no one got hurt. It could have been worse, and it wasn't.

You might be wondering about that bus driver. When I dropped off that load at the GPR, the bus driver radioed me and asked me what I had said because she hadn't heard me. I explained everything, nicely, and suggested that in the future she should wait to let shuttles go first and she did. In fact, at one point, she opted to not even do the parking lot because of a turn. She never apologized, but I could tell she got the message I kindly (And it really was kind, because she obviously didn't mean to do it!) sent her. For her, it was a learning experience, and she'll be fine.

For tonight, my gratitude is that it could have been a lot worse, and God protected us. I think that's worth sharing tonight, don't you? *grin*


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