Saturday, July 17, 2004

Chapter 34 The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round

Chapter 34  The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round
I was desperate to get out of bartending and to find a job that had benefits.  I have never had a job that earned sick days and vacation days.  And I have always been taken care of by the Navy with my dad then my husband with any medical problems.    I am realizing now that I need to take care of myself!  I cannot rely on a man coming by and sweeping me off my feet and riding off into the sunset to take care of me for the rest of my life!!  So with all that in mind, I jumped to the chance of getting a good stable job!!  What do I have to lose?  I filled out the application and mailed it in.  I did not have an answering machine so I made a pest of myself calling and asking about their decision.  They finally told me to come to the Best Western for a video scenario test.  I was among over 200 people that were chosen to take the video test.  I was in line outside the testing room and saw a bunch of men in the line.  I thought to myself that I had no chance against these men.  They are all retired Chiefs and have much better experience than the bartender here!!  In fact one guy that knew me laughed and said “What’re you doing here”??  I watched the scenarios and answered as best I could and walked out of there.  I called every day to ask how I did in the test.  One day early I got a call and the gal said I am the first person she is calling to come in for an interview!!  WOOO HOOOOO!!
I was ecstatic!!   I had an interview at 8:30am Monday morning.  I worked on the ambulance until 8:00am, so I went over in my EMT uniform and apologized for that.  The interview went well and Dan the Director told me that driving experience was not a requirement, as they wanted people that knew how to handle people.  He said that bartending experience is great!!  I was called the next day and was offered the job!!!  MY GOD!!  ME???? They hired 22 people out of more than 200 that tried out to start. By the way, the guy that laughed at me in line?  He wasn’t chosen!!
November 14th in the early morning I was at home on the beach when my pager went off for a deputy down at the jail!!  My heart jumped out of my chest!!  Deputy down meant probably dead!!  We were to standby to await further instructions.  Larry worked in the jail and I was petrified it could be him!!  I called his house to see if he was home and he answered the phone.  I told him what I knew and started crying in relief that it wasn’t him.  The scanner had the entire airwaves shut down for emergency broadcast only.  I heard a car squealing down the highway going as fast as it could go.  I then heard that they were looking for a Sheriffs car that was stolen!!  What happened was:  Deputy Heffernan was training Deputy Saxerud and they picked up a local guy on the Southend of the Island for DUI. (I knew him from my bar).  They took Darrin Hutchinson to the jail to book for another DUI.  When they pulled into the Sally Port they closed the bay door and took Darrin to the breathalyzer.  There, Darrin reached into Heffernan’s pocket and pulled out his gun and shot him in the back of the head then turned and shot Saxerud in the back of the head then jumped into the patrol car and backed out through the locked Sally Port door and drove down the Island!!  About 5 minutes later a Deputy coming on shift walked into the Sally Port and saw the dead Deputies.  It was a horrid tragedy!!  The Deputies were good guys!!  They made a tragic mistake by not locking the guns in the locker right away.  They paid the ultimate price!! 
I was to start work on the day of the funeral but Dan told me to go to the funeral.
November 18th was our first day of orientation.   December 1st was when the service was to begin so we had two weeks to learn to drive the big buses and learn the routes.  I was petrified to be behind the wheel of that bus at first!!  It is 9 feet wide!! Our roads are narrow with no shoulders, just culverts.  We would meet logging trucks coming at us, and there was no room to swerve!!  I had my guardian angels working overtime to get me trained for this job!  Ten of us would meet in the morning and drive around in the bus taking turns and driving the routes.  I got to where I could actually feel comfortable behind the wheel.  I was going to work for the Transit at 8:00am, get off about 1:00pm go to work bartending at 6:00 pm and get off around midnight.  I would work on the ambulance a 24 hour shift on Sundays.  Plus I was going to Monday night fire drills from 7-9, Wednesday night rescue squad drills 7-9, answering at least two medical calls a night  and AA meetings whenever I can get to them.  I was too busy to even think about being lonely or drinking!!  Life was going good for me!!  I was on a pink cloud enjoying the ride!!Tomorrow,  everything falling into place

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