They are always late. Usually, he pulls up about the time I'm shutting the doors. I always wait for the girls to slowly get out, gather their stuff, and walk slowly to the bus. I may be smiling, but I'm frying on the inside. I have repeatedly warned the girls that they need to be on time, that it's not fair to the others to have to wait for them every morning.
This particular morning, there was no sign of the Escalade, even by 7:57. So I started to roll away. Immediately, half the girls on board started begging me to wait on the tardy ones while the other half begged me to carry on and just leave them. About that time, the Caddy appeared in the distance. Reluctantly, I stopped and waited for the girls. The Dad waved at me and grinned...I just stared at him.
That same morning, I had a field trip at Rangel, the same school where I deliver the girls every day. So I just parked the bus and waited for 9:00. Now school begins at 9, but everyone is expected to be in their first period class by 8:45, ready to go. I had a ring-side seat, watching kiddoes being rushed to the front door by frenzied-looking parents. But there were some parents and some kids who were arriving late and not showing the least bit of concern or giddyup in their step. It was as though they were expecting time to stand still while they leisurely strode up to the building. I even saw a couple of teachers arrive after 8:45 and even they showed no spark.
What my momma would have done to me had I lollygagged up to school like that, either as a student or a teacher! So I guess that it all started with my parents, this business of being on time as a way of showing respect to whomever...your teacher, your classmates, your doctor, your church, whatever. And what they drilled into me meant that while I was teaching, I did not cut a great deal of slack to those who chose to be tardy. I hope that somehow I was able to inject some standards into their gray matter where obviously a parent hadn't.
So, one day this week, in all likelihood, I'm going to finally teach Mr. Escalade something about promptness. Be there or be square, brother. Maybe when he has to drive an extra 17 miles from deep SW Dallas County to the school at Fair Park in rush-hour traffic, it'll hasten a slight behavioral change. And I bet it cures the problem. I also bet he'll call Dallas County Schools and complain that I drove away without picking up his girls even though they were almost there on time.