Stuff.co.nz 10 Aug 2012
Canterbury bus driver has been stood down for lifting a disruptive 5-year-old schoolboy on to his seat. Methven bus driver Fred Rijbroek, 63, said the “wind was taken straight out of my sails” when he heard he had been stood down on full pay for a week for picking a child up and placing him on a bus seat. The incident happened two weeks ago when a primary school pupil with behavioural problems was being difficult on Rijbroek’s bus. “This little fella is very busy and always full of banter. I have to have him seated before I take off, and sometimes it is quite difficult,” Rijbroek said. While the Methven Travel driver was waiting for older pupils to board his bus on a Thursday afternoon, he said the 5-year-old was being “hyperactive and boisterous”. When he told the boy to sit in his allocated window seat, he replied, “No; I want to play”. Rijbroek told the boy he would have to sit where he was told when the bus doors were shut. The boy then started kicking his school friends and upset a girl by taking her book. Once all the pupils had boarded, Rijbroek took the book off the boy, picked him up by the middle and “firmly placed” him on the seat. He said the boy was “a little taken aback” by his actions and was “well behaved” for the rest of the journey.
The schoolboy’s mother told The Press she held “no grudges” against Rijbroek for picking up her son. The owner of Methven Travel said the incident had been “blown out of proportion” and that he felt for Rijbroek. His employer, who did not want to be named, said he “definitely would not” have stood Rijbroek down if it had been his decision. He described Rijbroek as a “good worker who was 100 per cent reliable”.