A school bus usually drops Jayda Reid off at her Elderbank house at about 2:30 p.m.
But the eight-year-old didn’t get home until after 5 p.m. on Monday and in the intervening hours Tracey Reid scrambled to get information about her daughter’s whereabouts.
“I called Stock (Transportation) and asked where she was so they looked it up,” Reid recounted in an interview Wednesday. “Of course, I’m freaking out, where’s my daughter and do I need to call the RCMP? It wasn’t pleasant, right?”
Reid's stressful afternoon was sparked when the bus to which her daughter usually transfers didn't show up. The Upper Musquodoboit Consolidated School student switches buses in Middle Musquodoboit.
"I’m not sure what happened and why but the transfer didn’t happen. One or both buses didn’t show up when they were supposed to and I’ve been given absolutely no explanation of why the other bus didn’t come or why one was late or whatever."
Reid first became aware of the problem when she texted her son from work in the early afternoon to make sure they were safe at home. He told her Jayda was missing.
Reid said a Stock official who looked into the situation told her Jayda was in Meaghers Grant on the original bus and would be dropped off at home after that bus completed its normal route.
By this time, it was about 4:30 p.m. and Reid was waiting at the bottom of her driveway for the bus to arrive.
While she was waiting, Jayda’s principal Aaron Verge called Reid because the school was aware of the situation. Verge told Reid he had happened to see Jayda on a bus not in Meaghers
Grant but dozens of kilometres away on Sheet Harbour Road.
“She goes to a school that has an enrolment right now of 23 students so we’re lucky, No. 1, the principal knows what she was wearing and said yes, I see Jayda and I see her in her white hat. I don’t know, it’s maddening and it’s scary and it’s frustrating.”
When Jayda finally got home after 5 p.m., Reid burst into tears and hugged her.
“The bus driver was talking to her, she was OK, she didn’t realize how big of a deal this was. She didn’t realize (that) I didn’t know where she was.”
A Stock Transportation spokesman blamed the communications mix-up on the fact Jayda’s information such as her normal bus route and her home address had not been entered into the school bus system.
“We pick up any student so that’s never an issue,” Edward Flavin said from Stock headquarters in Ontario on Wednesday afternoon. “But the student was not set up in our system to take multiple buses. So that led to the delay.”
As for the reason why the transfer bus was delayed, leaving Jayda on the original bus for three hours, “we’re investigating that.”
Flavin said it’s the responsibility of the parent and the local school board to make sure a student’s information is correct in the bus system.
A Halifax Regional Education Centre spokesperson couldn’t be reached Wednesday afternoon.
Reid said she’s had trouble for over a year trying to ensure Jayda’s bus route information was properly recorded in the system.
But she said that still doesn’t explain why Stock gave her incorrect information on her daughter’s whereabouts Monday afternoon.
“Nothing has been explained to me. The only conversation I’ve had with Stock Transportation is me calling them (Monday afternoon) and yelling at them for them to find her.”
Flavin said Stock will be in contact with the family.