Community says thank you to Pennridge School District bus drivers

It turns out there is such a thing as a free lunch and these Pennridge School District bus drivers sure earned it. The community picked up the tab--a way of saying thank you for their heroic efforts one week earlier.

District officials knew the wind and rain were coming last Friday, but by mid-morning--with kids already in school-- rain turned to snow and transportation director Brian Geiger had a decision to ake.

"We knew we had to get the buses down here, get them on the road and get these kids home as soon as possible."

With conditions getting worse by the minute, the drivers had a hard time just getting back to their depot. Then came the real job--getting nearly 5,000 students home through a near-blizzard.

"This was just about everything; cold and rain and wind and snow-- everything. And you put in traffic and the disabled cars," bus driver Bob Cluck said.

More than 100 buses and their drivers hit the road to make their runs. Throughout the long afternoon and even longer evening, the district reported six minor accidents-- no injuries-- and 29 buses stuck in the snow. Judy Smith got her kids home but had to stay with her disabled bus until midnight.

"Then, the whole neighborhood brought me cups of coffee in thermoses. And one lady brought me a blanket, scarf, gloves, hat. They did everything!"

This appreciation lunch was great, but by 1:45 p.m. the drivers were back on the job for their afternoon dismissal runs.

Each bus passed by a middle school plastered with signs from students thanking them for their work.