For the Busy Business-Parent

Whimsical Bedtime Stories for Children of All Ages

The Lonely

The schoolyard was full of bright, shiny new buses all lined up in rows. Every morning, these buses would leave the schoolyard to pick up the children for school. In the afternoon, they would take the children home again.

At the back of the schoolyard, hardly noticeable at all, sat an old schoolbus. It was no longer bright and shiny. None of the bus drivers wanted to drive such an ugly old bus. So, every morning, the old bus sat there and watched as the other buses left to pick up the children. It was very sad that it could not go to pick up the children like they did.

One morning, one of the bright, shiny buses would not start. The mechanic told the principal that the bus was broken. It would take several days to repair it. The principal was very unhappy. “What are we going to do about the children?” he asked. “How are they going to get to school without a schoolbus?”

Herb, the bus driver, spotted the old bus sitting in the schoolyard. “Hey,” he shouted, “How about if I try that old clunker?” The principal said "OK", so Herb fueled up the old bus and tried to start it. It choked and coughed and sputtered. Finally, it started. The old bus shook as its engine came to life.

Herb drove to old bus out of the schoolyard to pick up the children. He was glad that the old bus had started. Herb liked his job of bringing the children to school. He had been doing it since he retired from the factory. He liked talking to the children every day. Herb had been pretty lonely since his wife passed away . He found that his job kept him busy and made him feel better.

Herb and the old schoolbus picked up the little boy who lived on East Street. Herb liked him, he always made people laugh. When he got on the old bus, the boy patted the seat and said to Herb, “I see they took 'Old Faithful' out of mothballs.” Everyone laughed.

Next, Herb and the old schoolbus picked up the boy who lived on Seventh Street. He always had nice manners and behaved well. When he got on the bus, he said hello to everyone before sitting down. Everyone liked him.

They stopped for the sisters who lived on Oak Street. They picked up all the children.

Next, Herb stopped for the little girl who used the wheelchair. He got out of the bus and picked up the little girl and carried her onto the bus.

Then he folded her wheelchair and put it on the bus too. The little girl, Becky, was embarrassed that she had to be carried onto the bus. She never looked up at the other children or tried to talk to them because she always felt like she was different.

Herb tried to make her feel better. “Each of us is different in our own way,” he had told her one morning.

“You aren’t different,” Becky had said sadly.

Herb smiled kindly at her, “Yes, I am. You see, every morning, I get up and brush my teeth and then I put them in my mouth.” He clacked his dentures together to demonstrate for her.

Becky laughed right out loud at Herb. She didn’t feel embarrassed to talk to Herb anymore. She was still too shy to talk to the other children though.

The old schoolbus was very proud to be carrying children again. As the children laughed and talked to each other, it felt stronger. It didn’t care if it wasn’t bright and shiny any more. It was happy to be carrying children again. The old schoolbus wished that it could carry children every day.

In the afternoon, Herb and the old schoolbus gathered the children and carried them safely home. Every day, for the rest of the week, the old schoolbus and Herb carried them back and forth to school.

On the last day, the principal got a call from the school board. “We’ve hired a new driver for the bus when it’s repaired,” they told him. “But what about Herb?” the principal asked."What will he do?"

"Well, maybe Herb is ready to retire,” the schoolboard person said.

The principal didn’t want to fire Herb, and he didn't think that Herb would want to retire. The principal thought for awhile, and then he had an idea. He called the school board. After talking to them about his idea for a few minutes, he went out to see Herb and the old schoolbus.

He told Herb that the broken schoolbus had been repaired. “But the school board has hired a new driver for it, Herb,” he said. Herb hung his head and was very sad. “I guess that means that I’m fired,” said Herb. Tears filled his eyes. The principal shook his head. “Wait a minute. Let me finish,” he said.

“We are going to fix this old bus up and convert it so that the handicapped children can get on and off easier. We would like you to drive it for us, Herb, would you do it?” Herb's eyes sparkled with delight, and he gave the principal a great big smile. “Yes sir! I sure will!” and he shook the principal’s hand.

After the repairs and changes had been made, Herb finally drove the old schoolbus out of the schoolyard for it's very first run. The old schoolbus had a brand new paint job, and it no longer coughed and sputtered. It looked wonderful !

When they stopped at Becky’s house, Herb opened the door. This time, instead of getting out to carry Becky onto the bus, he lowered the special new chair lift. He smiled at Becky and asked, “Can I give you a lift?”

Becky’s grin lit up her face as she rolled her wheelchair onto the lift and then into the bus. “Now, I can get on by myself, just like the other children!” she said happily.

Herb drove the old schoolbus for a very, very long time.

Becky finally grew up and went off to college. But there were still lots of children still that needed a special ride, so Herb and the old schoolbus were never lonely, ever again.

The End

The Lonely Schoolbus by Kate Keller - Copyright 1997 - All Rights Reserved

--------------- About the Author/Illustrator - Kate Keller, her husband and 5 year old Brad live in Alberta, Canada. A nurse, mother and housekeeper, Kate began telling stories to entertain Brad on long trips.You may write to Kate Keller at

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