By: Lanetra Bennett
August 25, 2014
Tallahassee, FL - A Tallahassee mother says her daughter was found on the wrong school bus after the six-year-old had been missing for hours. The mother says the child was taken to another county.
Last Tuesday was six-year-old Zoe's very first time riding a school bus. But, some sort of mix-up may have caused it to be her last.
Heather Bush says she was frantic when Zoe didn't show up to her afterschool program. She says, "The hardest thing I've ever had to do was have somebody say, what was your child last seen wearing? Those words just hit me."
Bush says last Tuesday, the second day of school, Zoe boarded a school bus from the independent bus company -- School District Services-- around 3:10 p.m. to ride from Governors Charter School in Tallahassee to an afterschool program. She says the program is only six miles away from the school.
Administrators of that program called Heather at 4 p.m. to say Zoe hadn't made it.
Bush says she started calling the bus company. "No answer, no answer, no answer. By 5:00, she still wasn't where she needed to be." She says.
Bush says she left work, and while driving down Tennessee Street, she just happened to see six of the company's buses at a gas station. "I pulled in and I blocked them. I was crying and I was hysterical and I'm yelling and I'm screaming, crying, where's my kid? They were telling me to calm down and tried to hug me. I was like, no, no, no, no, no just find my kid."
She says after calling over the radio, the drivers found Zoe and brought her to her. "I looked at the driver and said, where have you been? That's when he told me he'd been in Gadsden County. I was stunned. I was just too shocked and too stunned. I'm seeing my daughter who's got tears in her eyes and she's been on a bus for four hours."
Bush says there were middle school aged students on the bus with Zoe.
Bush says she spoke to the owner of the bus company, Ivory Luckey on the phone the next day to cancel the services. "He said, we didn't do anything wrong. She was just a little late. And I said, you are going to give me a refund, and he said, no ma'am I am not. So, they're not giving me a refund. They are denying any wrong-doing, and that's the last I heard from him."
She says Zoe was doing fine. She says she believes it wasn't until she was the last person on the bus and had gotten dark outside that Zoe got nervous.
In a phone conversation with WCTV, Luckey said Zoe "was never lost." He says she never went to Gadsden County. He also said the mixup stemmed from Bush not following protocol because Zoe's registration was not complete when she was put on the bus. Therefore, Zoe "shouldn't have been on the bus."
Luckey says he apologized and did not refuse giving Bush a refund. He says she has to make her request in writing.