While chaperoning on a youth camp recently, I had the unenviable task of driving a minibus full of teenagers to Southampton for the day.
The only thing I’ve ever driven bigger than a car was a van and even then it was filled with my own stuff; if I crashed it or did something equally stupid, then the only thing that would be lost would be my own life and a bunch of furniture and clothes. The van was surprisingly easy to drive. I had a feeling that the minibus would be less so.
The college we were staying at let us use their minibuses with only a copy of our licenses as proof. The keys to the buses were duly given and we each had a bus of our own. I tried to practise a little bit, driving about the campus, but fear set in when I tried to park. I am generally bad at parking anyway and this thing was MASSIVE. What I didn’t want was people laughing at me. Still, I wanted to do another new thing so there was no way that I was *not* going to drive this thing to Southampton.
I tried to choose the nice kids to have in my bus, the kids who wouldn’t be too loud and distracting and to their credit, they were great! We set off and got all the way to Southampton with only stalling once, and all was fine until we reached the Ikea car park we would be parking in. Getting in and parking up was easy; getting out was much harder, what with a narrow exit and a severe right-angled turn. By the time we got back to the college I was completely at ease driving the bus and had figured out where to plug my phone in for music purposes. From that point on I would have happily driven the bus all over the place. Sadly, we had to return the keys to the college the day after.