“Bone Crusher Jones”

Yup, that was his name as far as we were concerned. I’m not entirely sure what it was about the bus company my schools used but I have to assume that ‘unique’ was a quality they searched for when looking for drivers for young children.

I imagine he had a real name, and perhaps his last name was in fact Jones. As little kids we made up a song that went something like: “Bone Crusher Jones, sits on his throne”. Part of me remembers singing the second line: “pickin’ his nose, all day lawng”, but I was always messing up lyrics. He was a really large African-American.

Give a shout out ya’ll if you remember something different.

There was another driver, who wore the greasiest baseball cap, EVER, and his hair was oily and stringy from behind, he wore a classic mullet. He had dirty nails and nail beds and reeked of cigarette smoke. He appeared emaciated, and wore smelly grease-stained t-shirts that his bony arms would stretch out of to grab the wheel with. He had a few teeth and never had any kinds words.

When I was even younger I remember a sweet bus driver named Julie. She had a butchy, but always freshly cut hairdo, but…here is the uniqueness, the LONGEST nails ever. I mean, Guinness Book Of World Records nails that curl around. Ew.

WHY? Why why whyyyyy?  Why would any company hire these drivers for young children? It’s beyond my comprehension. I have nightmares of those nails. Of the greasy hair. Of a huge black man who could crush bones. Well, ok, not all the time, I used to though. I was petrified that I would be face to face with that toothless guy opening his pie-hole to spew his cigarette breath on me or Julie reaching out to pinch my chubby cheeks!

I know we all couldn’t have Miss Frizzle and go to school on The Magic School Bus – but I do know that it sure felt like we were sometimes on the Volcano Adventure with the way they drove. I’m not sure who was the cause but once my friend got so car-sick that he threw up. Unfortunately the only bag that he was tossed was a see-though baggie. (Collective “Ewww” Appropriate).

My favorite bus driver of all time was a woman who drove our high-school van. An elderly African-American woman named Thelma. Her graying hair was always up in braids neat and tidy. She had no weird smell, I can’t recall any weird nails, and her only fault may have been the thickness of her lenses. She wore these really thick glasses. Her eyes were magnified jazillion times kinda’ like Professor Trelawny, her eyes seemed so large, they lost definition and were blurry from the viewer’s side. Anyway, she was always polite, wished me a good morning and I have a firm belief she was a G-d fearing woman and had a good relationship with Him. She spoke to Him a lot on those trips. “Lawd have mercy” she’d say at least once a day. When she’d smell something funky, she’d call that boy out. – (Here I am going to change the name so as not to embarrass the real person – JUST in case he reads my blog). “Matthias? Is that you? Good Lawd Boy! Stop smellin’ up ma’ bus!”She was great, even if she didn’t mean to be entertaining, but I was sorta’ nervous her poor vision would be a problem for driving us safely.

Now, to put myself in the shoes of others so that I don’t seem overly judgemental, seems only fair. Why do people want to be school bus drivers? Do they mind noise? Is the pay worth it? Are they excellent drivers? Do they enjoy spending time with children? Are they unqualified for other jobs? Did she not own a nail clipper? Was she trying to get into the Guinness Book of World Records? Did he not own soap? Was he addicted to cigarettes? Did he not own a nail clipper?

I ask these questions and feel bad a bit about my ranting. I wish I had some answers. As adults we can look at situations differently and can rationalize. As children we just accept what we see as truth. He was dirty, maybe poor and didn’t have a suburban home like “Chubby” where there was always soap and warm water. She liked to be unique, so she tried something new with her nails. Grandma was driving to save up for her grandchildren….I’ll never really know.

These memories were scary for me as a youngin’ but as an adult I can appreciate that they were working and receiving a paycheck and supporting themselves, their families and maybe their grand-kids.

Still, I think there should be better monitoring for school bus drivers for children. Like I have mentioned in previous posts, lots of stuff scared me as a pudgy kid and these drivers added to the list. It wasn’t all bad. I remember lots of laughing and giggling and teasing each other for the 40 minutes to an hour it sometimes took to get to school. Most of the time we teased each other, about her singing, or the perm he got in 8th grade, or the fact that ‘Matthias’ was so gassy. The boys would tease the girls because they never stopped talking and the girls teased the boys because they never stopped quoting movies. Though I never remember a single one asking us to wear a seat-belt. Always make sure your children are buckled up for safety. All joking aside this ad always makes me cry in a good way and I hope my kids appreciate my vigilance when it comes to safety on busses and in cars.

I ran a search online to find the funniest thing regarding school busses and I found this great website that you can make your own videos on. It’s called Jambino. I would have made one for my family but I am too cheap to pay the measly $1.99. I can’t just go off spending 2 dollars here and there when my pre-teen needs a new pair of shoes because his feet grew to be the size of a gorilla!



  1. Oh, Cheri! I remember ALL of these bus drivers! I do remember the Bone Crusher Jones song differently but, I won’t repeat it here in case youngsters are around…enough said! I remember Julie screaming at us constantly. I lived in fear that she would have a heart attach while driving and screaming at us. As for the “oily” bus driver? He frightened me the most. I can’t remember his name but, your description is dead on. Right out of central casting for a movie of the week pedophile character. Ah…and our parents paid good money for the pleasure of these bus drivers!
    Thelma was my favorite too. In the US there is a story circulating right now about a 68 year old bus aide who was verbally tormented by 3rd graders on her bus. Times certainly have changed. I don’t remember any stories like that…

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