One of many realities with being a houseparent is living in a fishbowl. Everybody is watching everything that you do. Unfortunately people aren’t always watching to see all the great things you are doing, they often times are watching to see when you mess up so they can point it out to you or somebody above you.
My most recent fishbowl experience happened last week, though I didn’t find out about it until Monday this week. At the facility we work at we drive all our children to school and pick them up in the afternoon. I drive one of two mini-buses with our facility logo plastered all over the side of it, and since the other one was in the shop on the date we received the complaint, it had to be me.
Anyway, I was driving to school that morning with 13 young children in the bus approaching an intersection with a traffic light. I was being distracted with something the children were doing in the back. I looked up into my big mirror to see what the children were doing and kind of last track of the light and intersection. I suddenly realized that the light was RED and traffic was coming just before I entered the intersection. I was able to stop without hitting anybody and my bumper was only about 3 feet into the intersection.
I was shaking very badly after realizing the tragedy I just missed, in fact I can’t remember what it was that even distracted me now. Though I do remember the GLARE of the woman in the white car I almost hit. When the light turned green I continued driving to school, shaking the entire way and just being thankful I didn’t hit anybody. Eventually I stopped shaking and didn’t think anymore of it, until Monday when I got a phone call from the Business Office.
She told me that somebody called and complained about this crazy nut driving one of our buses. That I had no business driving children around, and she knew because she used to drive a school bus. That I was speeding (which wasn’t true, because I am pretty obsessive about traffic laws) and was going to hurt somebody.
I told the manager my side of the story, and that I am sure that lady had never been distracted all the time she drove a bus and never had a close call. I continued that I would take my reprimand or firing if that is what it takes. She said no, I just wanted you to know that people are watching us. My reply was, “yes, I know.”