05 October 2010

Bus-ted, yet again

Every year on camp, there is some major disaster with the buses.  I'm not sure why bus companies and churches still voluntarily lend us their buses for the week of camp.

On the first year that Mr de Elba was leading these camps, one of his Chaplaincy buddies drove a bus full of kids under a bridge for which he didn't have the clearance.  He gave the bus a haircut.  They had major delays as they unloaded the kids and their luggage, located another bus, loaded the kids and their luggage and took off for camp.

The next year, two minutes after leaving the pickup zone, the same Chaplain was driving when the bus broke down.  It completely lost its clutch and stopped, right on a very busy roundabout in the middle of a very busy suburb during peak hour on a Monday morning.  Again, there were major delays for unloading, locating a new bus and re-loading.

A few years after that, a huge lockable covered trailer was behind one of the buses - big enough for all the campers' luggage with some room left over.  It was only when the bus and trailer had been driven the 90 minutes from the campsite to Brisbane to pick up the campers that the driver realised he had left the key to the trailer back at the campsite.

Strange things seem to happen to buses on these camps.  So it came as no surprise that there was yet another bus drama this year, albeit a more substantial one than usual.

One of the leaders (who I will call AT because that's what we really call him) had the job of picking up a bus in a very small country town (VSC Town) and bringing it to the Bigger Smoke.  The plan was to park it outside our house overnight, load it with thirty excited teenagers in the morning, and drive it to the Even Bigger Smoke for a week of fun.

The bus was one of a few that were lent to us by a man who owns a small bus company.  He had told AT that the bus would be outside an address in VSC Town, unlocked and with the keys inside, all ready to drive away.  That's the way they roll in VSC Town - there's not much need to lock houses and vehicles in friendly little country towns like that one.

So AT went to the address as directed, found the bus, started it up and after trying to call the owner with no success, drove it to our house.  He parked it out the front and slept at our place that night, ready for camp the next day.

In the morning, Mr de Elba, Buzz and AT drove to a local highschool to pick up the campers.  Once they were all packed, the owner of the bus drove up in one of the other buses he was lending the camp.

He walked towards AT's bus, wide-eyed open-mouthed.  Mr de Elba told him that he didn't need to worry, everything was in order and that both buses could now roll off together with all the campers, but the guy just kept staring.

"That's not my bus!" he laughed.

It then dawned on Mr de Elba and AT that their camp had, in fact, stolen a bus from the streets of darkest VSC Town, they realised that they would be late getting to camp yet again.

After an hour and a half was wasted while driving the stolen bus back to VSC Town and driving the correct bus back again, it transpired that the wrong street number was given to AT in the initial text message informing him of the time and place of the bus pickup.  The correct bus had been parked only a few houses away.

And although you'd think the chances would be slim-to-none of having a second unlocked bus with the keys in it directly outside that incorrect address in the backstreets of darkest VSC Town, you'd be wrong.


~Taz~ said...

haha oh that's great! what are the chances hey??? lol :) :)

Heather said...

That is hilarious! Thanks for the laugh on what is shaping up to be a rainy, chilly, gloomy morning here!

Jen said...

Maybe its time to switch to trains or trucks instead of buses. ;)

Swift Jan said...

Now here I was thinking that something crazy bad had happened! What on earth could top giving a bus a haircut?? LOL

Oh what a way to start the week! LOL I think you all should couunt into your plans next year a mishap with the bus.

Givinya De Elba said...

I have instructed AT to try to blow one up next year.

The Accidental Housewife said...

I have been lurking and reading and not commenting (sorry!) but after we had to use a chisel to open a locked truck today at work since the keys were in another state, and I laughed out loud and no one knew why, I thought I should come back and say hi ;)

Crazy Sister said...

These stories amaze me. You'll probably be all disappointed next time when nothing happens to the bus.

Joy said...

Oh this is too funny. That poor guy. I think they should vote to leave the bus driving to the professionals. I think as a parent I may be a little concerned leaving my child to ride in the bus with this guy. :0
I'm sure he is wonderful with kids, but with buses...not so much.
But I know his heart is in the right place.

Hippomanic Jen said...

I laughed for a good 5 minutes. and I needed it today (Paul, the Law and Romans is beginning to pall - like the pun?)

The word verification is "amess" - that really outlines the use of buses on camps, hey?

Hippomanic Jen said...

Just came back for a post Paul laugh. Thank you.

My mental image of the police on your doorstep at dawn about the stolen bus was even funnier.

John Ross said...

Oh my, you do have a way with a story.

I'm on the other side of the world, in a different country, a way different life, yet I sometimes feel almost like you and your Crazy Sister could be long lost relations, just from hearing about your wondrously normal yet really odd sounding lives.

Thank you so much for that...

Sassy Britches said...

I suppose at least now you have another option for a bus for next year. :)