No telling how many times I’ve driven a 15 passenger van.
Full of high school students. College students. Even some junior high kids.
All over the country.
The first time wasn’t a van, it was one of those mini-busses. A sawed-off school bus that had that big lever in the middle that the driver swung around to open the accordion doors to let people in or out.
I wasn’t licensed to drive a school bus, but then I wasn’t certified to teach theatre either.
Drove that thing right through downtown Dallas on my way to a speech tournament at Rockwall High School during rush hour traffic in the pouring rain. The window on the driver’s side wasn’t sealed properly, so every time we turned right I got drenched.
Sometimes my students thought I drove like Cruella Deville.
One of our favorite lines for drivers who were pokey – “Got a one-legged man pushin’ a wheelbarrow in front of me!”
Or for drivers who pulled out in front of me – “Where’d you learn to drive, Sears?!”
Sometimes we had to leave before sunrise and drove home late into the night.
Sometimes a student would ride shotgun with me to keep me awake.
Sometimes they all went to sleep on me.
Sometimes we played “truth or dare” on the way home.
Only once did I leave a kid at a gas station and have to go back to pick him up.
I never had a tire go flat.
I never had car trouble that stranded me on the road.
I never had a wreck.
I don’t know why.
Just like I don’t know why it had to happen to a group of students and faculty traveling from ACU this weekend. Or why it took the life of one of those students.
My heart aches for the family whose world has been changed forever.
And for the driver of that van.