Compassion for cold kids cost bus driver her job

Bus driver Kendra Lindon was fired for driving kids to school in her own vehicle after her bus...

Bus driver Kendra Lindon was fired for driving kids to school in her own vehicle after her bus broke down in frigid temperatures in Calgary on March 3, 2014. (Darren Makowichuk/QMI Agency)

Michael Platt, Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

CALGARY -- Do the right thing, and lose your job.

It’s a heck of a life lesson for students at a Calgary junior high, and one that has parents writing livid letters to a local school bus company, demanding a veteran driver be reinstated.

“It is going to be a very sad moment for me when I have to tell my children that Kendra will no longer be driving them to school,” wrote Jennifer Hughes, one of 13 parents to pen letters of outrage to First Student Canada.

Alison Stutz was another: “I think it is ludicrous she was fired for a safety violation when she was in fact trying to keep the kids safe in such extreme weather.”

Rewind to February 12, 2014, when Calgary was in the midst of another bitter cold snap, with windchill temperatures dipping as low as -37C, according to Environment Canada records.

With frostbite her first concern, Kendra Lindon, a 10-year veteran driver for First Student, broke a rule that ultimately cost her a job.

Knowing that kids she’d been driving since kindergarten would be stranded outside, Lindon chose to get them.

“They would have been out in that cold for 20 minutes, so that’s the decision I made,” said Lindon.

The fateful, frozen morning started when Lindon’s bus, parked at her Hawkwood home, refused to start.

She called dispatch for a mechanic, but realizing how backed up the system was in the cold snap, Lindon worried about kids along her route, who would be stuck in the chill until a bus arrived.

That’s if a bus arrived. In previous days, there had been complaints from parents that First Student failed to send a back-up bus when the regular ride broke down.

Lindon put safety first. It was a matter of blocks to round up the five junior high students she’d normally take to F.E. Osborne school, using her own personal SUV.

From there, Lindon planned to keep the kids, including her own son, warm until another bus arrived — no frostbite, no problems.

Or so she thought.

It turns out another parent had watched Lindon picking up the kids, including two boys who had to sit in the rear cargo hold, where there were no seat belts.

Concerned, the parent contacted First Student — and that afternoon, Lindon was fired.

“They told me, ‘you were picking up kids in your personal vehicle’ and that was it,” said Lindon, who works in the day as a school aide.


Videos

Photos