Mom Forced Off Bus for Crying Toddler

Hi Readers — This is not spot-on a Free-Range issue, as far as I can tell, but it sure struck a nerve with me and, it seems, a lot of Canada. A woman and her 20-month-old daughter were riding a bus in Vancouver. The kid kept crying, “No! No! No!”  and when the mom couldn’t calm her down, the bfyhefnaky
bus driver ordered them to get out.

The mom protested. She had three bags, a screaming kid and no stroller!

Tough, said the driver. And that was that. Mom and kid were on the curb.

The mom wrote a note to the bus company. The bus company apologized and sent along 4 free tickets — woo hoo. (I imagine if this were in the States they would have sent along a lawyer, too, even as the reality TV producers circled ’round.) Anyway, that might have been the end of it except for the firestorm the indicent ignited. Canadians are now up in arms about the incident and most, I’m sorry to say, side with the bus driver.

I side with the mom not because I enjoy screaming children on my bus ride (or plane ride, or even elevator ride), but because I know that none of us — toddlers, mothers, fathers — are perfect. We break down. We can’t do everything as quickly or quietly as we’d like. We have rotten days and rotten trips and, sometimes just because that’s the way life is, rotten kids. (Okay, not “rotten.” Let’s say…high-maintenance? Rambunctious? LOUD?)

To demand a world where all children are perfectly well behaved — and to assume that we, as parents, can create that world — is enough to make me scream. And keep screaming, “No! No! No! That is not possible!” Then I’d maybe bite somebody’s ankle.

At least till you gave me a cookie. — Lenore

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155 Responses to Mom Forced Off Bus for Crying Toddler

  1. Kuan October 1, 2009 at 1:17 am #

    Some kids have problems. Sometimes they’re visible, sometimes not. It could be as simple as a tooth breaking through or some other problem that cannot be diagnosed until the child is a little older. But look, kids cry when they’re upset. It happens to grownups too.

  2. Robyn October 1, 2009 at 1:17 am #

    That was a very unsympathetic driver! Wow. I can’t imagine walking with three bags and a screaming toddler. I’d have done much more than write a letter.

  3. Annika October 1, 2009 at 1:17 am #

    I will never understand the societal expectation that we parents can control our children. I can’t even understand the expectation that we might WANT to control our children! Certainly I don’t want to ruin anyone else’s day, but my son is a person and not under my control. That doesn’t mean that I won’t try to keep him occupied and reasonably quiet, but honestly.

  4. Shea October 1, 2009 at 1:17 am #

    I’m not saying that the parent here should be blamed, but if the screaming was particularly loud why should the rest of the bus have to deal with the issue? Just because the mother has no control over this particular tantrum doesn’t mean she isn’t responsible for it, and if her responsibility was creating an unwanted environment on the bus then the driver had every right to ask her to leave.

  5. bethan October 1, 2009 at 1:24 am #

    What if it had been dark? Bad neighborhood? Medical issue?

    Yes, it’s distressing for other passengers, but such is life, of which babies are a requisite part.


  6. Robert J October 1, 2009 at 1:28 am #

    I call out the other bus riders. In the city of Montreal, people still lend a helping hand in these cases, theer is always someone trying to make silly faces to calm the child down. or help the mom with the three bags and no stroller…

  7. Jen Connelly October 1, 2009 at 1:28 am #

    My first plane ride (that I remember) was on my honeymoon to Orlando in 2000. On the flight back to KC we got stuck at the gate for some maintenance. Behind me was this kid, about 2, that screamed the entire time. Not only that, but he insisted on kicking my seat. After a 45 minute delay and a 4+ hour flight (landing was delayed because of weather) I was ready to strangle the kid and the parents.
    I wasn’t mad that the kid was just being a kid, persay, but it was more because the parents never once even tried to calm him down or stop him. He continually kicked my seat for hours. He screamed and yelled and never once did they try to distract him or tell him to be more quiet.
    It’s not that I expected him to listen to the request but at least they would have been trying.

    That was before I had kids. Now that I have my own (4 of them) I know how frustrating those situations are for kids and, still, I have the same opinion I did almost 10 years ago…the parents should have at least tried to get him to be quiet. These weren’t tantrum screams (the kind you ignore). he was blabbering on for hours at the top of his lungs.

    My kids aren’t always perfectly behaved but when they start to get out of hand I do what I can to wrangle them in. If it works, great, if not at least I know I tried and I hope others around me realize that, too.

    It’s one thing to kick off a mom that just sits there smiling ignoring her little hellion. It’s another when she is doing everything humanly possible to comfort the child and it just isn’t working.

    Has this world just lost all compassion and empathy?

  8. Jan October 1, 2009 at 1:29 am #

    Just so you know, not all of us ‘up here in Canada’ side with the driver. Although I know it can be difficult to concentrate with a toddler is having a meltdown in the vehicle, a professional driver needs to be able to block out these distractions and safely transport all their passengers to their destinations.

  9. Cleric at Large October 1, 2009 at 1:37 am #

    Why should the rest of the bus have to deal with the issue?

    Because it is PUBLIC transit. And a toddler, screaming or no, is part of the public.

  10. Kymlee October 1, 2009 at 1:40 am #

    This is completely unfair. I remember having to ride the bus with my children and sometimes they just cried and there was no consoling them. If I had been kicked off all the buses, I’d have never gotten anything done. I think it’s also symptomatic of people just thinking kids should be seen and not heard, and practically disappearing from public eye. Granted, people shouldn’t just let their kids act a fool, but when people have no choice but to travel in public with their children, its a serious handicap to think you’ll be removed from your only mode of transportation because your kid is crying.

    However, I do believe whenever possible that people with inconsolable, crying children should leave a room to avoid disrupting others. Children should learn and be expected to behave in public. But even then, the thing about kids is that they’re little people, not robots and no one can control anyone every second of every day.

  11. jim October 1, 2009 at 1:54 am #

    A friend of mine’s kid (now at least 30 or so) is a local legend because when he was four years old and standing in the line at the grocery with his mom next to the impulse racks he would say “Mommy, can I have a candy bar?” She would say, “No, sweetie, we’re going to be eating dinner in an hour and it would spoil your appetite.” Little Rocky would start wailing at the top of his lungs “Mommy, Mommy, I’m sorry! Please don’t hit me again!” (Mind you, this was a kid who had never been hit in his life, but his mom had some friends who had a strange idea of what was a funny thing to teach a kid.) But he got the candy bar every time.

  12. RayD October 1, 2009 at 1:56 am #

    Although I don’t necessarily agree with the driver forcing her off (although from what we told it wasn’t “dark, bad neighborhood, medical issue” so maybe we don’t need to get too hysterical) I can see why he might have done it. Buses in the town I live in have rules posted including no excessive noise and I’ve seen teenagers kicked off for playing music too loud/generally being too loud. Perhaps it’s a rule the driver is asked to implement?

    This summer I got off the tram several stops early with my 4 year old when she had a meltdown while we were traveling home. No one requested we get off but I felt it unfair to force people to listen to her screaming very loudly in such a small space. I figured she’d cry it out at the stop and we’d hop on the next tram. Turns out getting off at a stop that wasn’t ours was enough to stop the tantrum anyway! I realise that doesn’t work if you’re in a hurry or it is “dark, bad neighborhood” etc but it worked for us in that instance.

  13. lauradee24 October 1, 2009 at 1:57 am #

    exactly, Cleric, I was about to post the EXACT same thing. It’s the BUS. If you don’t want to deal with people, then drive a car. Can’t afford one? Then deal with it. I ride the bus a lot, and you have to deal with annoying adults who won’t shut up, too. I also have a daughter and know how hard it is to calm a kid down when they are exhausted, but have too many distractions to rest. It’s part of being out in public. Heck, even in the privacy of my own home, I can only get so much peace because I live on the first floor of the apartment. The guy above blares his crappy music at random intervals throughout the day. I would complain, but it’s really not that loud to him–the acoustics and insulation in our apartment is just awful. So I have to deal with it. You can’t expect everyone to cater to your every whim. It’s my home, but he lives in his and has the right to play music in his home, too. Just like the mother paid for her ticket and has the right to ride like all of the other customers do. People expect everyone to accommodate their every whim. It’s selfish and detrimental to society as a whole, because it makes parents stressed when they can’t get their kids to calm down, thus making their kids more likely to get even more upset.

    Why do people think only children are annoying? Because they are more easily ordered off the bus, that’s why. I don’t think I would have gotten off if I was that mother. If I paid for a ticket, they would have had to deliver me!

  14. Terena Campbell October 1, 2009 at 1:57 am #

    I’m struck most by the lack of compassion by every single person on that bus who allowed this woman and child to be kicked off the bus. Weren’t there any other parents there wiling to speak out against this driver’s unfair decision? To recognize that children, particularly toddlers, cry for a myriad of reasons, and that they are all a valid and natural form of expression? My heart goes out to the mom and child who were forced off a bus when their resources were already at a low ebb.

  15. Terena Campbell October 1, 2009 at 2:08 am #

    I just read the complete article about this incident in Victoria, BC, and I now understand that the bus driver kicked this woman and 20-month old baby/toddler despite disagreement from the other passengers. So, it was simply the heartless decision of one person–the BC public transit driver (whose behaviour is now being monitored by his employer, whatever that means.)

  16. KateNonymous October 1, 2009 at 2:10 am #

    @Terena, the article says that she had support from other passengers, so there were people objecting to the driver’s actions.

    I regularly travel by bus, and an incessantly screaming toddler is a rarity compared to motor-mouthed adults with volume control issues. None of them get thrown off of the bus.

    The most persistent issue I’ve encountered was a large group of middle school students who would get onto an occupied but mostly silent bus and start singing, swearing, and using vulgar language so loud that I couldn’t even read. No one kicked them off–but I could tell which school they went to, and wrote to their principal about their behavior. After that the kids were much quieter.

  17. just me October 1, 2009 at 2:11 am #

    To play devil’s advocate:

    As a bus passenger, this wouldn’t just be about the noise. This is a safety concern. I know a lot of parents who are able to shut out an amazing, insane amount of noise – noise that would drive me batty. Sure, the mother is saying the toddler wasn’t making much noise, but I’d hazard a guess that the driver didn’t agree with her.

    As the individual responsible for the health and safety of everyone on that large, fast-moving metal projectile (also called a “bus”), and everyone around it, he has every right to create a safe driving environment. And the mother not having a stroller has no bearing on the debate – her lack of planning ahead is not his issue. Yes, it’s a crappy situation. Is it his problem or his fault? No.

    No one is saying children have to be perfect. This whole incident seems like it walks a very fine line regarding who is “right” and who is “wrong”, with a whole lot of grey area. And yes, kids and parents both have rotten days, and when those days collide life is a lot more challenging. But that’s not the issue at hand; the issue is safety.

  18. Kelly October 1, 2009 at 2:11 am #

    It makes me terrifically sad to read that many support the driver. My kids are 7 and 5 now so they don’t “throw fits” so often. But when they were littler, and they did, I stuck up for them by not feeling ashamed of them when they did. Yes of course I noticed the other adults around and within my power I did all I could to be considerate of their feelings, too.

    I ride the bus a lot and so far have had very positive experiences with drivers and other passengers (and where I live the bus is mostly for the poverty-line peeps – not commuters). Two exceptions some to mind: one time a couple years ago driver spoke rudely to my 3 year old son who was having trouble vaulting over a 2′ snow drift to get in the door (she was angry or anxious, I think, because the rare snow had delayed buses that day). I said, “He is only three years old, and he’s doing it as best he can”.

    The other time happened more recently:

    I have to say, speaking up for my kids was a good thing in the latter case. The woman has been very friendly to us since – & I to her. I do think sticking up for our children’s rights – especially when we are firm, direct, and well-spoken – can often yield better results for all.

  19. Katie October 1, 2009 at 2:13 am #

    The question I haven’t seen answered yet is why this bus driver is so noise sensitive. I mean, really. If a crying toddler is enough to distract you from your driving, maybe you should find another line of work.

    I have two small children. When we’re out and about I try my darndest to get them to be quiet. Guess what? Sometimes it doesn’t work. Thankfully, we’ve never been kicked off the bus.

  20. Katie October 1, 2009 at 2:18 am #

    @just me, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, if a person is so noise-sensitive that a crying toddler is distracting them from their job, maybe they shouldn’t take a job driving a public bus. As others have said, I’ve heard far noisier/more distracting things on buses.

    This driver reminds me of some people in my neighborhood, who like to complain about how loud the train is. Ummm, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the train was running through the neighborhood before you moved in. You choose to live next to the tracks, you deal with the noise.

    You choose to take a job as a bus driver, you better be ready to deal with some distractions.

  21. pentamom October 1, 2009 at 2:20 am #

    “her lack of planning ahead is not his issue”

    She may have planned perfectly well for what she expected to do, which didn’t include being stranded without transportation or having to walk a long distance. People shouldn’t have to access a public accommodation with the expectation that they’ll need to plan for every possible contingency in case the person in charge of the accommodation decides to deny them service. IOW, if it’s ordinarily possible for her to hop on the bus and get back off half a block from her house so that she doesn’t need a stroller, the driver’s belligerence should not be “her issue.”

    And while I have a little more sympathy for the “safety issue” argument, in the final analysis I don’t think it washes. Bus drivers have to be able to do their jobs safely under a lot of less than ideal conditions. It’s part of what it means, as others have pointed out, to have a public bus service. Of course people who are deliberately uncooperative and therefore causing a risk should be removed. But children acting like children and parents who don’t possess magic wands to make them quiet are just part of the intended clientele of public transportation.

  22. Erik October 1, 2009 at 2:37 am #

    this may not be spot-on a free-range issue, but it’s part of a larger one: parenting in public. Parenting in public – involving the public at large in your parenting merely by exposing your children to the world in which you live rather than shielding them from it – has been a topic in liberatory parenting for a very long time, and is connected to the best advice for parents ever:

    Have ’em. Love ’em. Leave ’em alone.

  23. Lori October 1, 2009 at 2:38 am #

    Wow – this does qualify as a outrage. I’ve been really surprised since I had children to discover just how un-childfriendly this world has become. There are so many places they aren’t welcome – unless they don’t behave like children.

    I had an incident similar to this once. I was on a plane with my almost 2-year-old. Our flight had been cancelled and it was the next morning and we had been put in first class. While sitting on the tarmak, my son touched the light above our seats and burned his finger. I had no idea the light was hot to the touch. He screamed and he screamed and he screamed. The flight attendant asked me if she could do anything (she did bring me ice). I told her just to get the plane in the air because he would fall asleep then (the roar of the engines put him to sleep everytime).

    I’m glad they let us stay on and once we were airborne, he quieted and was fine the rest of the way. I’m happy to say that other than plenty of concerned questions about how he was the other passengers stayed quiet about it.

    I echo the comments about other people helping. We should be helping each other – especially parents with young children. Why condemn and not help?

  24. Lisa October 1, 2009 at 2:38 am #

    Wow, It’s interesting to see the views of others on this issue.

    Now, lets switch it around. If the father was with or the only person with the child would he have been kicked off too or would someone on the bus attempted to get the little one’s attention before he was kicked off?

    I find it interesting because in my experience if my toddler has a melt down in the store or anywhere I get all eyes on me and giving me looks. However, if it happens to my husband women tend to flock to him trying to help him out.

    Raising children is not easy. A toddler does not have to have anything WRONG or a PROBLEM to have a melt down. Sometimes it happens for no reason or logical reason at all. I can’t believe this bus driver kicked her off. Talk about a stressful situation becoming more stressful. I’m glad they gave her some tickets and said sorry.

  25. lonedattyof3 October 1, 2009 at 2:44 am #

    This can also be a class issue: This mommy was likely on the bus with her kids because she had no choice. I have a choice, and choose to drive my snotnosers in a swanky (relatively speaking) van that has an air conditioner, cupholders (15 of them!) and DVD. They can eat, drink, sing, scream, and make the most amazing fart noises from one end of the island to the other. When one (or ALL!) of them melts down it’s like the proverbial tree falling in the forest–no one knows.

    What must it be like if I had to bundle all three of them on to a bus after after walking to and waiting at a stop for an untold amount of time in the heat, rain, or worse; forcing them to fast; keeping them quiet; providing some form of entertainment; etc. Finally, at the final stop, we would still have to navigate our way to our actual destination.

    When John Edwards talks of the two Americas, he reminds our family just how lucky we are. This Canadian family, whatever their circumstances, probably was working under conditions most of us will never experience–knock on wood.

    Having said that, I also feel for the driver. There will always be situations in which the driver must intervene, and his or her decision about where to draw the line will nearly always be contested. In many states, the driver is legally mandated to police passengers (such as the recent posts about those with body odor). It’s a no-winner.

  26. jim October 1, 2009 at 2:45 am #

    Interesting conversation. Random notes from someone who has spent a lot of time on public transit (note to everyone – when you start having dreams about being naked on the Metro it is time to air up the tires on the bicycle.) I agree with Kate; screaming babies are a part of the experience, but middle-school kids who cannot speak a complete sentence in the English language without loudly using both the “n” word and the “mf” word are something we can live without, and the driver should put them out at the curb. Of course, those brats are scary and might be armed so the riders and drivers try very hard to ignore them. Which is condoning antisocial behavior, but it’s also a self-preservation measure so….

    Adults who are off their meds and are looking for converts to their particular religious or political worldview are another joy of public transit. It does no good to ignore them. I’ve found it works wonders to agree with them whole-heartedly to the point of saying “Wow, Jesus is coming? That is great news, I need help painting the house.” Nothing freaks out (and calms down) a crazy person like finding out they are on a bus with someone crazier than they are.

    As far as the “If you don’t like it, buy a car” crowd goes… ummmm, words acceptable in polite company fail me. We need more public transportation – trust me on this, I live in Houston, where we have spent decades proving that no matter how many times we widen the freeway there will be more cars than the road can handle because the bus system draws a vacuum. Fast, efficient and frequent (none of which apply to Houston Metro) is the answer – not “oh, if you don’t like the bus buy a car.” And who wants to be on the road with a single mom who, because she has been downsized and is broke needs a brake job, and who has a screaming toddler in the baby seat? Sorry, I’d rather have her on the bus (even in the seat next to me) than trying to drive with that kind of distraction.

  27. Jo-Ann October 1, 2009 at 2:56 am #

    Another Canadian here reminding everyone that not all Canadians side with the bus driver.

    Also wanted to point out that other passengers also sided with her and not the driver.

    As per the article “Despite support for Manzer from other passengers, the bus driver would not relent”

    Sounds like maybe this driver had a bee in is bonnet that day.

  28. thordora October 1, 2009 at 2:57 am #

    Funny, there was a case recently in Halifax where the driver booted a kid off for being noisy and distracting, and he was seen as the devil.

    Why? Because apparently, the kid is autistic and “can’t help it”

    Just like a 20 month old I’d imagine. Actually, I’d imagine the 20 month old is less able to control herself.

    Public transit is public, and occasionally includes a loud child. Considering the local drivers are on their cell phones and eating while driving in rush hour traffic, I fail to see how a child can be any more distracting that those activities.

  29. Nicole October 1, 2009 at 3:08 am #

    I went over and read the article but was so amazed at the comments! My goodness, so many commenters are ready to hang this lady by her toenails. I mean, c’mon, what parent out there can stop there kid from crying every time? I’m sure that she wasn’t having a walk in the park either and if she could have left the bus, she would have. But with lots of bags and a crying baby, that’s no easy task.

    Overall, people in this world just can’t accept babies/children for what they are. We blame it on bad/lazy parenting (and yes, bad/lazy parents do exist) but then good parents get lumped in because their baby/child is doing something irritating yet AGE APPROPRIATE! I was on a red-eye flight back from Hawaii (going to the east coast – long flight) and most of the way, this baby was crying. Maybe the baby was sick, I don’t know. Did it bother me? Of course, I was tired! Do I think that lady she have “planned better” or “taken a parenting course?” NO!! That’s what babies do – they cry. It’s part of life. But no one wants to be a part of that anymore. We all want to live in our own little bubbles. But babies make this world go ’round, annoying as they can be sometimes. We need to get back some community spirit. It takes a village, right??

  30. LindaLou October 1, 2009 at 3:11 am #

    I think it’s horrible. What the bus driver did was was so lacking in empathy. I can’t believe people are defending that.

  31. Denise October 1, 2009 at 3:15 am #

    This struck a never with me as well…because ultimately, free range parenting IS about HOW we parent.

    And because we do things that people don’t like, we are subject the interference and regulation of people who have no business telling us how to parent.

    This is just another situation where someone in “authority” and I use that term lightly here, is telling someone else that he doesn’t like how they are parenting.

  32. susan October 1, 2009 at 3:22 am #

    It’s interesting that there are a lot of proclamations about how it takes a village to raise a child, and how kids are in the world and people have to put up with them. These comments are paired with assertions that other people don’t have a right to tell ME how to parent! So which is it? Are other people allowed to be involved, or not? You can’t have your cake and eat it to. And you can’t be right all the time. I agree with the above, that parents are able to block out all the noise their children make and they don’t remember that people without kids don’t have this ability, so the noise their kids are making is downplayed in their heads.

  33. Nicola October 1, 2009 at 3:26 am #

    Ok – what do we say when we get a train driver who is texting on his phone and causes a deadly train wreck? (Which happened in California a couple years back.) We say that he was distracted and shouldn’t have dared to be on his phone and that it should be outlawed to be texting while driving a train.

    That is a train… on tracks.

    I did not read the article. My sincere hope would be that the driver would have let the woman off in a neighborhood that was safe and not just indiscriminately dumped her off…

    That said – the driver *is* and individual. He may have been dealing and trying to cope with a screaming child the best he could but after a certain point, found his level of concentration affected. I would rather have the bus driver kick her off than risk an accident because his mind is on something else.

    As a parent of two, absolutely you have days where your kids are screaming and you feel helpless and ridiculed by all the eyes that land on you unsympathetically… but we are in a society and manners are still in good keeping. If we’re in a movie theater and a kid starts screaming, we don’t expect that we’re going to have to put up with that – it’s a public place. We expect that the parent would be kind enough to respect our wish to watch the show and take the kid outside until he/she calms down.

    If it were me on the bus and my child was screaming, I would have asked to get off the bus – calm the kid down – then catch the next one.

    I realize I’m probably going to get ridiculed here for such a stance – but I don’t care how crazy buses are or how bad some adults are – I will never subscribe to the idea that anyone has to just “deal” with it because it’s public transit. If we take that kind of attitude and apply it to any public place – we’re going to really end up in a rude world. I’m sure many smokers feel that people should just “deal” with their smoking when they’re outside, but there are many places banning smoking to make it more pleasant and healthy for everyone… noise is the same way – whether it be a loud stereo thumping outside or a child constantly screaming on a bus.

  34. Ashley October 1, 2009 at 3:27 am #

    Stuff like this is happens because of how age segregated our society is.People who aren’t parents simply don’t have much experience with kids these days, of any age, and so they have unreasonable expectations. As a new mom i find this particularly frustrating, but I’m starting to say “f you” to the non-parents who think I should spend the next 5+ years of my life sequestered in my home because I have baby who may occasionally be unconsolable.

  35. laine October 1, 2009 at 3:34 am #

    I don’t know what the free-range stance on this is, but it pains me that people are too afraid to get involved and stick up for a family that needed help.

    I was on a three hour flight not long ago with a woman that was traveling alone with three little kids, 2,3, and 7. She wasn’t allowed to sit with the two youngest in the same row so the 3yo and 7yo were across from her. The 2yo and 3yo were screaming and wailing for most of the flight.

    After some hesitation, a few of us moms simultaneously decided to help – taking turns distracting the screamers, sharing toys, etc… I’m sure for many people it was the worst flight ever, but what could we do? Ejecting the offenders wasn’t an option.

    This week you reported on the Michigan mom accused of running an illegal daycare, and the teacher who talked to police before talking to a man looking at a school playground.

    I think this is a problem that free-range parents encounter – the reluctance to engage with others except through the intervention of government officials (and bus drivers, apparently).

  36. susan October 1, 2009 at 3:36 am #

    I’m a non parent who is around kids all the time and absolutely love them. I don’t expect parents to be sequestered. But I also don’t expect to deal with a screaming child just because they happen to be inconsolable that day. Doesn’t being a parent mean that sometimes your plans have to change, because you’re in charge of a whole other human being, and you have to take their needs and wants into consideration? Like the commenter above pointed out, a movie theatre is a public place, but there are certain expectations of certain public places. Buses in Victoria have signs indicating you should be polite with your noise level, in consideration of your fellow passengers. It shouldn’t matter if that noise is loud cell phone talking, screaming baby, obnoxious music….loud is loud, and this seems like a noise issue, not a parenting issue. But I have noticed that parents tend to get very, very defensive and make it about parenting or themselves when in fact it’s actually about other people.

  37. Pipu October 1, 2009 at 3:44 am #

    Hasn’t anyone ever sang the song “The Wheels on the Bus”? They should know the lyric is “the baby on the bus goes WAAA WAAA WAAA all through the town.”


  38. Lola October 1, 2009 at 3:48 am #

    Before I had my license (I don´t know about the US, but it´s quite expensive here), I once met a bus driver who told me strollers weren´t allowed. If the bus made a sudden jerk, the stroller would become a projectile and could hurt someone, you see. I had 20 and 4 month-old babies, plus the diaper bag, my handbag and a couple of grocery bags as well.
    Well, I´m happy to say that before I could reply, people who were standing in line, waiting to board, caught my bags, the stroller and even tried to pick the eldest up and boarded the bus with all of that. The poor driver had to accept the mutiny, although he mumbled all the way…
    By the way, I never heard anyone complaining about the noise my kids make (and believe me, they are REALLY noisy). Mostly they find them funny and cute, and seniors start complaining about how you never get to see children around anymore. Yay, I love my town.

  39. Kari October 1, 2009 at 3:48 am #

    UGH! I have two children that can scream for hours (and have) because of their disabilities. I can’t imagine being tossed out of every place we had a “break down”. Yes, I try to get out of any public location when one hits (which is actually the best thing to do anyway with my children due to their triggers), but sometimes you just can’t (i.e. the bus, a plane, etc). Is it annoying to listening to a screaming child? Yes. I hate listening to my children do this for hours a day. But it’s just a annoyance. Get over it people. (not meaning you guys, meaning those who like kicking small children off buses for being small children)

  40. Delphine October 1, 2009 at 4:11 am #

    I side with the driver. A parent can’t be expected to keep their children under control ALL the time, but a good attempt should be made. Watching your kid screaming “NO NO NO” is not a good attempt. It’s not an attempt at all. It’s just bad parenting.

    I’ve always been baffled at how many American parents let their children run wild and act like general nuisances.

    No, I don’t have children, but my mother and all my relatives with children don’t and didn’t tolerate this kind of behavior. My mother just had to shoot us a cold look and we know if we didn’t shut up we’d be in serious trouble after we go home. If a parent doesn’t have at least that much hold on their children, they need to learn how to be better parents or keep their kids out of the public.

  41. frances October 1, 2009 at 4:14 am #

    I hope that jerk of a bus driver kicks off every unruly teenager and inconsiderate rider who plays their ipod too loud as well.

    When did having a cranky toddler become against bus rules? I’m so sick of this backlash against children. I would have refused to get off the bus and made him call the cops. Imagine the fuss THAT would have caused.

  42. frances October 1, 2009 at 4:17 am #

    Delphine- At what point was it said that the mother just sat there? Obviously you don’t have children, and it sounds as though you have a little problem with Americans as well. I doubt if a cold look will calm down a cranky 18 month old, and just because you have relatives with kids doesn’t mean you know the first thing about parenting. This driver was in the wrong. Every parent has at least one moment where their children get the best of them.

  43. Tony October 1, 2009 at 4:24 am #

    It’s fair for the bus driver to ask a disruptive rider to leave, regardless of age. No one is perfect, but the child’s behavior is the parent’s responsibility. Graciousness works both ways; people are typically tolerant of outbursts, and the parent should return the favor by leaving the scene if they can’t control their child. To make a blanket mandate that people must tolerate a crying baby at all costs defies both common courtesy and reason.

  44. Jan October 1, 2009 at 4:25 am #

    This is a sign of our child intolerant society. It would never happen in Mexico. The bus company needs to evaluate their policies on this and not just dump a mother and a crying baby with a bunch of stuff out on the street.

  45. pentamom October 1, 2009 at 4:26 am #

    A child in a movie theater and a person smoking are such bad comparisons. A movie theater is an optional entertainment and people with sense don’t take their children who are not consistently able to behave into them. A bus is a necessary means of transportation for some people. Smoking is an entirely voluntary activity that people can choose to do, and can be told to stop if they are doing it in an inappropriate setting.

    Optional adult activities in optional locations do not compare to normal behavior by children in the course of the ordinary use of basic, publicly-funded transportation.

    “No, I don’t have children, but my mother and all my relatives with children don’t and didn’t tolerate this kind of behavior. ”

    I don’t for a minute believe that is true of “all your relatives with children” in every single situation when the child is under the age of 2. I also have high standards for the behavior of my children and generally am able to make them behave with a word or a look — ONCE THEY ARE OLD ENOUGH TO DO SO. That you think the same applies to 20 months old children is merely evidence for your statement that you don’t have children.

    Yes, too many people “let their children run wild and be general nuisances.” But with a child of that age, it’s not always a matter of “letting” them. Even if the child is later corrected, you can’t always stop them in the moment, if they are very wound up.

    “they need to learn how to be better parents or keep their kids out of the public.”

    Sorry, it’s called “public” because everyone is allowed to be there unless they’ve committed and been convicted of a crime. Of course people should behave, but the idea that kids don’t belong in public unless they measure up is reprehensible. The parents should certainly learn how to parent, but I find it disturbing that the offered alternative is to shut the kids up in the house.

  46. Jan October 1, 2009 at 4:26 am #

    I see there’s another Jan here, I’d better add something to my sign in name. How about Jan S?

  47. Jan S October 1, 2009 at 4:27 am #


  48. frances October 1, 2009 at 4:29 am #

    I should also note that though my oldest child never had a melt down on the bus or subway, I always made a point of paying her fare, even when I wasn’t required to, so that no one could complain ( though they tried ) when she took up a seat. I’m talking about when she was about 3 and 4 and too big for my lap.

    I once had a cop tell me I couldn’t let her take up a seat, though he shup up quick when I pointed out that she had paid her two bucks just like everyone else.

  49. pentamom October 1, 2009 at 4:30 am #

    For crying out loud, this was a bus, not a transatlantic flight. How long were people being “mandated” to tolerate this “at all costs?” Who was mandating it?

    If it were a disabled person, that bus company would be in sooooo much trouble. A child under 2 is in essentially the same position as a disabled person with respect to something like this.

  50. frances October 1, 2009 at 4:35 am #

    Tony, but is it fair to expect this woman to get off the bus? What I want to know is where exactly did this driver let her off? At another stop? In the middle of the route? How did he expect her to get home? What if she didn’t have change? Obviously that isn’t really his problem, but it says something about our society that no one cares as long as they don’t have to hear it anymore. Getting off the bus isn’t as easy as leaving a restaurant or a store.

  51. Carol October 1, 2009 at 4:37 am #

    I’m enjoying how the people tht defend the bus driver are people that are assuming how the mother was behaving (Perhaps smothering her child would have been a good option) despite the fact that the OTHER PASSENGERS sided with her, who clearly have more knowledge of the situation than we do.

    In SF, a disabled man was once not allowed to board because the driver didn’t want to lower the bus etc (such an inconvenience to the other riders..) the people on the bus that protested were thrown off.

    THis driver needs to get over his bad self and deal. And a screaming child is way less disturbing than the woman that used to read Hustler on the bus.

  52. beanie October 1, 2009 at 4:46 am #

    My mother always kept a roll of Lifesavers in her purse, just for this reason.

    And as a parent, I always take the step to help out other hapless parents (because I’ve been there myself) by trying to play a game or otherwise engage children who are having a difficult time. A simple game of peek-a-boo from a smiling stranger can cure a lot of ills.

    But we’re so busy not getting involved with the person sitting next to us (“It’s not MY kid!”) that nobody bothers to try to help until someone does something outrageous.

  53. Tony October 1, 2009 at 4:51 am #

    Assuming it’s fair to remove any rider, then it’s fair to remove a parent and her child. Aren’t we all equal?

  54. KarenW October 1, 2009 at 4:56 am #

    For all those insisting that this mother should have been able to control this toddler, please explain exactly HOW. Short of actual child abuse, I can’t think of anything guaranteed to work for this age child. You can’t tell a 1 or 2 year old that they will be in big trouble when they get home and expect them to actually understand you – that’s the way to get an older child to behave. So seriously, what are these secret ways of stopping a tantrum? You’d be doing all of us parents a great service by please clueing us in.

  55. Renee October 1, 2009 at 5:00 am #

    In agreement with pentamom. Babies and children cry, because they have no other way to communicate when they feel distressed. As long as she’s trying to console her, to the best of her ability, the bus driver has to accept it. The driver deals with the public. You just can’t shut them off, like a battery operated toy.

    I make a point of bring my children to Mass every Sunday. Some people question it, because yes they’re distracting. About once a month one of us is at the back of the church, with a little one that simply is too distracting. There were a few Sundays, I rather forget. But I’m glad I tried.

    How are children every going to learn how to behave, if we never give them an opportunity?

    Nothing is better then being on vacation and entering a local church and have people comment on how great your children are. Asking how do you do it. My children are not robots by any means, but they’re quiet, not too fidgety, and follow along to their ability.

  56. cagey October 1, 2009 at 5:12 am #

    If screaming children can be kicked off a bus, then shouting adults on cell phones should be kicked off as well.

    My Indian husband just shakes his head at our society and it lack of family-friendliness.

  57. gramomster October 1, 2009 at 5:16 am #

    @ Tony. Nope, not fair to remove a mother and toddler, because it is the toddler being noisy. Not the mother, not a rowdy teen who can fend for self.

    @ Susan. When one needs groceries, one needs groceries. And the likelihood is that the child had been just fine, and got tired during the trip. A parent can’t stay home, without basic necessities because their child MIGHT get pissy at some point. May people can’t afford cars. These people still require food. Or toilet paper.

    I am appalled, I really am. Nobody wants to be a nuisance to others due to the behavior of our kids. Sometimes we can’t control the behavior of our kids. When little ones that age get overdone, forget it. And lifesavers are a great idea for kids who are considerably over 20 months. That’s a great age to choke on hard candy. And that would improve the situation immensely. Plus, then you get a sugar-rush kid when you get home, and the fits just go on.

    No, to dump a mother with a screaming toddler and bags of groceries is unconscionable. I’ve been the mom with the screaming toddler, on the bus, with the groceries. I’ve been the professional on the bus with another kid screaming his head off. Neither are fun, but one calls for more empathy than the other.

    My suggestion for all the non-parents who feel compelled to comment on ‘bad parenting’ is find a kid to borrow, and do it for A WEEK. Not an afternoon at the park, but a week. Take ’em to school, or stay home, whatever their parent does. Take them to the store to get groceries. Run your errands, by whatever transportation means you normally use. You’ll learn a smidgeon, just a teensy bit, about what you don’t know, and your friend from whom you borrow the kid will think you’re a saint for setting yourself up for the challenge.

    Nothing irritates me more than non-parents giving parenting advice. Until you do it, you have NO idea.

  58. Ashley October 1, 2009 at 5:55 am #

    Susan, as others have said, what if you need to get groceries? What if you need to take the bus to a doctor’s appointment? Things happen, babies cry. Most parents are reasonable and try their best to avoid babies crying in public, but it’s gonna happen. DEAL. Having an expectation that no child in public cry ever is telling parents that they can’t leave their house. And therefore can’t eat, can’t buy clothes, can’t visit friends, can’t celebrate anything, can’t go to the doctor.

    Let’s just lock up all the parents with small children. That’s a great idea. THen they’ll never annoy anyone.

  59. JeninCanada October 1, 2009 at 5:56 am #

    This is my absolute worst nightmare; I was terrified after Gabe was born to take him anywhere; on the bus, to the store, anywhere! because ‘what if he cries? What if people get mad at me?’ Being paralyzed by my fear directly fed my post partum depression because I couldn’t get out and be social. I could. not. do. it. The thought of taking him out anywhere sent me into a full anxiety attack.

    My full support and sympathy to the mom and her daughter.

  60. Stassja October 1, 2009 at 6:08 am #

    Absolutely ridiculous. Sorry, but people (even paying customers on public transport) do not have a right to not be annoyed. We really don’t have that right anywhere when dealing with other people, even our own families. Sometimes you get the slow cashier, or the table next to the screaming kid. It’s life. Deal.

  61. susan October 1, 2009 at 6:33 am #

    I don’t recall ever saying that people can’t get groceries? If in that moment your child can’t handle the situation, then sometimes you turn around and try another time. Yes, things happen and babies cry, and sometimes your plans need to change.

    As for those commenting that she maybe didn’t have change – buses in Victoria work on a pass system, so if she got on the bus she’d still have her pass.

    There are also a lot of comments here such as this one: “For all those insisting that this mother should have been able to control this toddler…”. I don’t see ANY comments on this website suggesting ANY such thing! Oh COURSE people can’t always control their children. But they can control their own actions and make their own choices as to where they want to be.

    There would be another bus coming 5 minutes later; it’s not like she was dropped off into a lion’s den.

  62. susan October 1, 2009 at 6:37 am #

    @gramomster Nothing irritates ME more than smug parents who think nobody else knows anything about children.

  63. susan October 1, 2009 at 6:40 am #

    @ Ashley Again, no one (including myself) has EVER said parents shouldn’t leave the house. However, being a parent means you have to handle things a little differently than you would without a child. Sometimes when the kid cries you have to change what you’re doing. Period.

  64. Nicole October 1, 2009 at 6:51 am #

    @Susan: But don’t you think getting off the bus is a bit much? She was on her way home, where, hopefully, her child would be soothed best. I think it would only make matters worse for this little girl (baby really – a one year old) to delay her getting home. I hope that this mom was doing all that she could to keep her calm and quiet and soothe her, as she said in teh article. I’m sure that a quick return home was in her head, too.
    And of course, what if the little girl didn’t stop crying by the time the next bus came? or the bus after that? We all know that kids can cry for a long time, especially when they are out of their element. All this mom wanted to do was get her daughter back home.

  65. LauraL October 1, 2009 at 6:52 am #

    I’ve always tried to locate that magical “off” button on my children, but I’ve yet to be successful.

    Thing is, the parent is probably more distressed than YOU are, because they KNOW they are feeling judged and criticized for not having that magic button handy! I had to explain this once to a childless friend who didn’t like that there were small children in a buffet restaurant in Las Vegas, and one was crying.

    1. Parents get to eat out, too. Being a parent does not mean your social life, your needs or wants, suddenly vanish or that you should lock yourself in your house until the children are 18.
    2. Children are not small adults and are not capable of considering someone else’s comfort when their own is being jeopardized – crying is their language.
    3. Parents are feeling your stare and there is *nothing they can do*, trust me. They know you hate it. Do you seriously think they *like* to hear their own children crying and having a tantrum? They don’t, and ignoring is sometimes the best thing they can do given whatever their current situation is.

  66. susan October 1, 2009 at 7:04 am #

    @ Nicole There is no indication she was heading home. In fact, it says she was heading from UVic to downtown – there aren’t many people who live downtown, and given that her husband is a professor at the University it’s more likely that she was heading *from* home. It doesn’t sound to me like she was heading home to sooth her child.

    I’m not even really arguing that the driver was 100% right. But a lot of people are saying that it’s a public place, kids cry, and therefore everyone else has to just deal with the noise. Which implies that YOU chose to have a kid, and other people have to be inconvenienced by the behaviour of that child, but you don’t have to be inconvenienced at all. That seems to be the real thrust of the argument “it takes a village, so everyone has to just get used to my child screaming in public”. I disagree with how many of you are arguing the situation, but don’t necessarily disagree with your conclusion.

  67. LauraL October 1, 2009 at 7:06 am #

    >>>Which implies that YOU chose to have a kid, and other people have to be inconvenienced by the behaviour of that child, but you don’t have to be inconvenienced at all.<<<

    yes, because it's SO convenient to have my child SCREAMING in my ear while I'm also trying to do all the things I HAVE TO DO in a day.


  68. Jenne Heise October 1, 2009 at 7:06 am #

    Wow, this struck a nerve with me, since my baby is going through a stage where the Car Seat IS The Debbil and nothing in the world can stop him crying when I put him in that seat– except taking him out of it. And we have a 45 minute ride from home to my work and his daycare. His misery is more horrible to me than anything I experienced in 10 years of riding public transit.

    Susan’s comment: “Doesn’t being a parent mean that sometimes your plans have to change, because you’re in charge of a whole other human being, and you have to take their needs and wants into consideration?”

    In this context scares the living daylights out of me. Susan appears to believe that *just staying* whereever one is when your child has a meltdown– not going home, or to work and day care, or to the doctor’s– is always an option. For that matter, a hospital or a doctor’s office is also a public place; you can *expect* to be protected from loud children there all you want, but it ain’t gonna happen. Maybe in Victoria people primarily use public transit for pleasure jaunts and don’t *need* to take public transit.

    It seems to me that there is a very strong connection between the stifling of free range kids and the desire of certain people to be protected from experiencing children’s behavior at any cost.

  69. sylvia_rachel October 1, 2009 at 7:09 am #

    @LauraL. — EXACTLY. Everything you said.

    Another Canadian-who-thinks-that-bus-driver-was-an-asshat here. Safety issue? Maybe — but as somebody said upthread, a bus driver so sensitive to noise that he can’t drive when the bus is noisy is probably in the wrong career. I am frequently on the bus with about 40 yakking high school students (they’re not rude or horrible, just all talking at once) on my way home from work, and the drivers never complain — except to say “Keep moving back, guys!” when someone else needs to get on at the front.

    Oh, and also? Huge props to the mom for not bringing a stroller the size of an SUV onto the bus, then sitting right up front and blocking the whole aisle. (I completely fail to understand why so many parents in my city seem to need a stroller four feet long, two feet wide, and three feet tall to transport an eight-pound baby. But I’m still not horrible to them on the bus because of it.)

    I have been that mom, with the shrieking toddler and the bags of groceries on the bus or subway. (Although in Toronto, not Victoria. VERY different cities.) On occasion we’ve left the vehicle until she calmed down. On other occasions that has been impossible. Although there have probably been angry mutterings that I tuned out or didn’t even hear, I have never had anything but supportive responses from my fellow passengers — people making funny faces, offering me their seat, making comments intended to be helpful (they aren’t always, but you can tell they mean well), etc. Never been kicked off a bus. Then again, neither was the nasty old lady I sat next to on a VERY crowded bus a few weeks ago, who swore loudly at everyone around her and yelled at every new passenger who got on (including little kids) “Couldn’t you wait for the next bus?!” Toronto bus drivers must be made of tougher stuff 😉

  70. Nicole October 1, 2009 at 7:18 am #

    @Susan: The part in the article where she said she would “have to carry her child home a considerable distance” indicated to me that she was headed home. The bags also implied that, as in she was going home after running errands. But who knows.

    And I agree, that parents do have to adjust their lives. I have 10 month old twins and my whole life has been adjusted. For the better, but yes, there are times when I leave some place because my kids are crying. I just think that in this particular instance, leaving the scene (the bus taking her somewhere, soon, and then she’ll get off) is not the right idea.

    There has to be a balanace between living in a world with kids that aren’t ours (not an option – we can’t ban birth) and being a parent and making sure you take others into consideration (which parents should do). I think this is a situation where the others could put up with it until she reached her stop. A store, a movie, a restaurant, I would say, definitely, it’s time to go home. (but then how would those people leaving the stores with their crying babies get home?? not on the bus, I guess)

  71. Uly October 1, 2009 at 7:24 am #

    I don’t recall ever saying that people can’t get groceries? If in that moment your child can’t handle the situation, then sometimes you turn around and try another time. Yes, things happen and babies cry, and sometimes your plans need to change.

    And sometimes they can’t. Sometimes you already have a cart full of groceries and a house empty of food. Sometimes, you really have to suck it up and finish shopping. Sometimes you end up bribing them with a cookie and sometimes you don’t and they scream. Sometimes, you’re just outta luck.

    There are also a lot of comments here such as this one: “For all those insisting that this mother should have been able to control this toddler…”. I don’t see ANY comments on this website suggesting ANY such thing! Oh COURSE people can’t always control their children. But they can control their own actions and make their own choices as to where they want to be.

    Except, of course, when they can’t. Like when they’re on a bus headed for home, and they don’t know WHEN the next bus will be, and they HAD to go out to get to the doctor, and they’re STUCK until they get off. Maybe your life is nothing but free choice, but other people? We’ve got constraints.

    There would be another bus coming 5 minutes later; it’s not like she was dropped off into a lion’s den.

    Would there have been another bus in five minutes? Victoria sounds like a gem of a place, with bus service so frequent and reliable! Of course, her kid would still have been upset and crying in five minutes, so it’s a bit moot. How long is she supposed to wait outside, as it gets darker and her kid gets hungrier, until she can get on a bus?

    There are some places where, if your kid screams, you gotta leave. The library. A fancy restaurant. Somebody else’s church. And other places, where, if your kid screams, everybody else needs to suck it up because – despite what you all think – they actually did NOT choose to be there.

  72. susan October 1, 2009 at 7:24 am #

    @ Jenne hahahaha, yes, because I was totally saying you should just stay where ever you are. It’s pretty funny to watch my comments being taken totally out of context. You’re seeing what you want to see in them. Again, there is zero indication that she was heading *home* with the child, and every indication that she had just come *from* home (incidentally, UVic is a 6 minute, $5 cab ride from the intersection she got off the bus at. Given that they’re considering buying a car, don’t even try to tell me she couldn’t afford that. Again, another person may not be in the same financial situation, but in this case she didn’t need to walk home. Please.)

    There are numerous comments on other news articles from people who were on the bus. Some have written that the child was screaming and yelling (not merely “fussy”) right by the driver. He pulled over and politely indicated that if she continued to scream he couldn’t focus. The woman got off the bus, at which point the child stopped screaming. He then invited her back onto the bus, and she refused.

    @LaurelL What does your other stuff you’re doing in the day have to do with this particular situation? That’s your problem if your child screams at you all day, and it has nothing to do with this particular situational argument. I’m trying to point out that the argument “it takes a village” isn’t used when people want help with their child. It’s used when people want others to put up with their child’s behaviour. It’s convenient for her to remain on the bus even with the screaming, and inconvenient for her to get off. She wanted to go with what was more convenient for her, regardless of every other person on that bus, including the driver.

  73. susan October 1, 2009 at 7:30 am #

    @ Nicole I read that part also, and at first thought the same thing, but I think it’s a bit misleading. Because the only people who live downtown in Victoria live on the street…

    @ Uly See above – she wasn’t heading home. And yes, Victoria bus service IS quite nice. Also, there are many comments on other news articles, from people on that bus when the incident occured, who said that the child stopped screaming as soon as they got off the bus. In fact, the bus driver politely invited to her to come back on board. So, in fact, she wouldn’t have been sitting there with a screaming child. There is zero indication of time of day or where she was headed, but I’d bet you every penny in my bank account (all 3 of them!) that if it was “getting darker and darker” (as opposed to 10am) or if she was heading to the doctor, that this information would have been front and centre in the article.

    Everyone seems to be making up facts that doesn’t exist. “What if she was starving and the cupboards were bare and she was going to the doctor?? That means the bus driver was EVIL!” Or she could bus downtown when her husband was home to watch the kids. Or buy some groceries on campus, walking distance away.

  74. LauraL October 1, 2009 at 7:31 am #

    I’ll REPEAT myself.

    >>>Which implies that YOU chose to have a kid, and other people have to be inconvenienced by the behaviour of that child, but you don’t have to be inconvenienced at all.<<<

    yes, because it's SO convenient to have my child SCREAMING in my ear while I'm also trying to do all the things I HAVE TO DO in a day.

    Yanno, we're supposed to be teaching our kids to be self-reliant and deal with situations as they come up. You sound like you want parents to deal with those situations FOR YOU. It's FAR easier for YOU to get off and wait for the next bus, isn't it?

  75. susan October 1, 2009 at 7:32 am #

    @ LaurelL Repeat away, it still isn’t a salient argument.

  76. susan October 1, 2009 at 7:33 am #

    @ LaurelL Wow, your last paragraph really makes no sense. How would a random individual getting off the bus help anyone else around me, including the bus driver?

  77. LauraL October 1, 2009 at 7:34 am #

    It’s not a valid argument because you say it’s not.



    I stand so corrected.

  78. susan October 1, 2009 at 7:37 am #

    @ LaurelL It’s not a valid argument because what you do with your child the rest of the day has no bearing on the situational incident described above, i.e. being on a bus with your screaming child. You’re talking about apples while I was talking about oranges.

    Now, if I was saying that having a child is easy….well, then it might be a valid point.

  79. LauraL October 1, 2009 at 7:40 am #

    I am working on the theory that the ride on the bus is just *one* of the things that must be done in the day. Other things have their deadlines, too, and some must be done *before* other things.

    My point is, a crying baby doesn’t make what I have to do any easier, nor does it make what you have to do any easier. So we all just need to *deal* and that does not mean I have to get off a bus, in the dark, trying to carry a baby and three bags because your poor delicate ears can’t handle it. I want to get me and my baby *home* as soon as possible and I paid my ticket. You don’t like the crying – YOU leave the bus. Voila! Blessed silence.

  80. Uly October 1, 2009 at 7:46 am #

    Uly See above – she wasn’t heading home.

    Did the driver know that? Is it the driver’s job to pick and choose based on people’s destinations?

    Also, there are many comments on other news articles, from people on that bus when the incident occured, who said that the child stopped screaming as soon as they got off the bus.

    Could the driver have predicted this in advance? No, no he could not.

    Everyone seems to be making up facts that doesn’t exist.

    So you’re saying that a general principle (excuse kids for being loud in places where you might not have any choice to be) can be altered in case of specific circumstances (I don’t think this woman belonged on a bus, so nyah)?

    I mean, you’re assuming that she has a husband at home and is capable of walking distances – she could just as easily have mobility issues, I don’t know. The point is that whether there were extenuating circumstances or not, kicking her off the bus was wrong. Period. It doesn’t matter what she was doing, you’re right – but your conclusion that you draw from that is wrong.

  81. Sunny1 October 1, 2009 at 7:46 am #

    The funny thing is, I feel people use to help mothers out in that situation. Now we all live in this world of fear that if, for example ,an older gentleman said to the mom, here’s a stick of gum, see if this will calm her down, everyone (maybe including the mom) would be outraged because it might be poisoned or he’s trying to molest the child!!!. So, everyone looks on and no one helps!

  82. Uly October 1, 2009 at 7:47 am #

    Incidentally, coming up with hypotheticals isn’t “making up facts”. It’s pointing out that your argument cannot be taken generally and is, therefore, flawed.

  83. susan October 1, 2009 at 7:53 am #

    @ LaurelL Do you have evidence to support your observation that it was dark? If not, please stop making up facts to bolster your argument.

    The issue wasn’t the “poor delicate ears” of the passengers. It was the “poor delicate ears” of the person driving the bus, who felt like the noise level was compromising his ability to safely do his job. He made a personal assessment that he could no longer “just deal” because it impacted the safety of the passengers and the surrounding motorists. I would be upset if the bus driver was talking on his cell phone, or listening to his ipod, and therefore distracted and threatening my safety. I’m just as concerned if he’s distracted by a screaming child.

  84. Maureen October 1, 2009 at 8:00 am #

    Let me preface this long rant with the fact that I feel like throwing a crying baby off the bus is outrageous. Now if the kid was not sitting and running up and down the aisle, the bus driver would have had a reason. Otherwise, this is what little ones do on occasion. Parents shouldn’t have to live in a bubble.

    That said, is it just me or has anyone else noticed that sometime in the last 10 years or so, there’s been an epidemic of parents bringing their kids places where it was never really acceptable to bring them before? I’ve been to weddings where children were clearly not invited, but people have brought their kids anyway – even parking the stroller at the bar!

    My husband and I went to see the King Tut exhibit last year and there were so many toddlers and babies there it was mind boggling. One kid, who couldn’t have been any older than 3 had on the headphones. There is a perfectly good Please Touch museum not far away which would have been so much better for the little ones. I’m not really sure their were appreciating the significance of the chairs and bowls found in Tut’s tomb.

    Then there’s the movies. I’ve been to so many movies over the past few years – all 10pm or later showings – and there are BABIES there. BABIES. One was a newborn – couldn’t have been more than a few weeks. What is wrong with people? Yes, parents shouldn’t live in a bubble, but guess what? You will need to change your life a bit. Get a babysitter or stay home and watch a DVD.

    I have a 10 month old. He’s been out to lunch with us a few times at family-type restaurants. He did not come with us to our expensive anniversary dinner a few weeks ago. But I’ve been to nice restaurants for late dinners and people bring their little ones and then let them run around like they were at home. Friendly’s got it’s name for a reason. And they have ice cream.

    So I ask again, is it just me? Or is there a generation of parents (unfortunately, I they are my generation) who can’t do anything without their children? Kids don’t have to experience everything right now. Some things can and should wait until their older.

    So, what I think is that people need to stop being intolerant of children and start being intolerant of the adults in charge of them. I have no problem with a screaming child when the parent is being a parent. I do have a problem with parents that ignore their little darlings. And parents who bring children into situations that they shouldn’t be in in the first place. It might be these parents that have ruined it for the rest of us.

  85. susan October 1, 2009 at 8:01 am #

    @ Uly What does it matter to the driver if she’s heading home or not? His driving is impaired either way. I’m simply pointing out that people keep saying she was just trying to get her upset child home, when there is no evidence of this. Also, of course the driver couldn’t have predicted this – the reason I stated the item you quoted was so I could note in the following sentence that the driver invited her back on the bus – convenient that you left that out.

    Also, the article indicates that her husband is a professor at the University she had just left. Soooo…not really making stuff up there. She also indicates that she usually rides her bike to transport her children. So I’ll also go ahead and assume she has no motility issues.

    I think the whole debate here is whether the driver was right or wrong. It’s one thing to say you think the driver was right, but you really need to support this statement, or you aren’t really adding anything to the discussion.

    My argument is specifically for this case. I never intended it to be used generally. So how is that flawed? Did you make an assumption that is was supposed to be used as a general argument? I don’t believe you can ever make blanket, general statements with situations like this – there are far too many variables. And people weren’t coming up with hypothetical situations, they were saying things like “It was dark!” when there is no indication whether it was or wasn’t dark.

  86. Maureen October 1, 2009 at 8:04 am #

    Some things can and should wait until they are older.

    Long day.

  87. Bill October 1, 2009 at 8:05 am #

    My tolerance for a misbehaving child is highly variable, mostly depending on whether the parent(s) are making any attempt to mitigate the situation. I will admit to a very short fuse when trapped on an airliner with a screaming, kicking child old enough to know better, or with a child of any age whose parent(s) are simply ignoring the situation.

    This is a two way street…if we are to accept the odd meltdown, the parents need to attempt to control and train the children in the limits of decent behavior in public places.

    This one sounds like the driver was over the edge, but if we weren’t there we don’t really know if this was a case of parent tuning out their child (not acceptable), or attempting unsuccessfully to deal with it (acceptable).

  88. Nicole October 1, 2009 at 8:06 am #

    I see the distracted driver thing, honestly I do – I don’t want a bus driver crashing the bus because he/she was distracted. On the other hand, I find it hard to believe that the screaming kid truly kept him from doing his job. I know driving a bus is harder than driving a minivan, but still, millions of people drive minivans with screaming kids and it doesn’t seem to be causing countless accidents. And I would like to think that if he had asked her to go to the back of the bus so the screaming wasn’t right in his ear, she would have obliged. She would be taking his needs into consideration and he would also be taking her needs into consideration. That’s a society. It seems more likely that this driver was very annoyed by the kid and decided to have them get off teh bus instead of asking her to move to the back. These buses aren’t really small, are they??

    Also, what if he was distracted but also, it was pouring raining and dark and not a good neighborhood? Then what should have happened? I’m asking that honestly because it seems the answer should be the same in both situations. Either its a safety hazard to the driver or it isn’t. I guess I personally don’t believe that it is. Otherwise, kids (and other loud people) would be getting kicked off buses left and right and this wouldn’t be in the news because it would be happening every day. But it’s not. And I doubt its because all those other people with screaming kids get off the bus half way to their destination and calm the kid on the street and wait for the next bus.

  89. susan October 1, 2009 at 8:12 am #

    @ Nicole Given the reports that she was right up front, I totally agree that he should have at least asked her to move to the back, or at least initiated a discussion with her. And I think it’s very true as you (and Bill) pointed out that it’s a two way street, with some give and take on both sides. By many reports he was very polite and respectful, and let her know that it was just too distracting for him; and when the toddler calmed down he invited her back onto the bus, an invitation that she declined (obviously already upset, or embarrassed, or a combination).

    I guess I have the same question – for those who think he was in the wrong, what *should* he have done? And please don’t say “just deal with it”, because that clearly wasn’t an option for him.

  90. Nicole October 1, 2009 at 8:13 am #

    @Maureen – I think you are on to something. The parents dragging their poor kids to grown-up events does ruin it for the rest of us who take our kids to appropriate places and then manage meltdowns if they happen. If those instances happened less (crying baby at a wedding, in a bar, in a fancy pants restaurant) then I think most people would be more willing to accept crying babies in places like a bus, grocery store or mall, where babies sometimes need to go with their caretaker.

  91. Uly October 1, 2009 at 8:14 am #

    I’m simply pointing out that people keep saying she was just trying to get her upset child home, when there is no evidence of this.

    But they’re *not* saying that. They’re saying – correctly – that sometimes people are in that situation and the driver had no way of knowing.

    Also, of course the driver couldn’t have predicted this – the reason I stated the item you quoted was so I could note in the following sentence that the driver invited her back on the bus – convenient that you left that out.

    I left it out because it’s totally irrelevant. The driver had no way of knowing her situation (unlike you, after the fact). And since she had a high likelihood of being in a situation where she had fewer choices than you assume people have, he should’ve dealt with it. Every other bus driver in the world does – it’s part of the job.

    As I already said, her situation doesn’t matter – you’re right about that! Because he should not have kicked her off the bus. And really, until you’re the one in the situation with the upset child who will not calm down, you’re ignorant and don’t know what you’re talking about.

    My argument is specifically for this case. I never intended it to be used generally.

    Well, it doesn’t work that way. We really can’t have the bus driver asking every passenger “Are you heading home? Where are you going? Do you need to go there? Can you have people help you out next time? Do you need to be on the bus, or are you doing it for the lulz?” every time they have a kid with them. Because we’d never get anywhere.

  92. Nicole October 1, 2009 at 8:20 am #

    @Susan: I guess I would say he should have asked them to move to the back. I have been on buses in many cities (although not this city) and all were big enough that a kid crying in the back would be audible but not such a distraction that you simply couldn’t drive. Sometimes I wonder how those drivers deal with the screeching tires all day and I suppose the answer is, they get used to it. Maybe he’s a new driver and isn’t used to the occasional crying baby. And buses are so loud in general (all the traffic noise, chattering people, etc.) that someone in the back would be pretty muffled.

    My point was simply that crying babies on buses seem like they would be common place (like the “wheels on the bus” song commenter pointed out) so why is that this guy in this situation couldn’t handle it? Maybe it’s less about this mom and her baby and more about this driver??

  93. susan October 1, 2009 at 8:25 am #

    @ Uly Why would you assume that I’ve never been in a similar situation with an upset child? It’s very ignorant of *you* to make assumptions like that. Try being in that situation with a child that isn’t yours, who doesn’t respond to you as well as to mommy or daddy. I have a complete and total understanding of what that is like.

    Their job is to get people safely from point A to point B. He was attempting to do that job. Discussing knowledge of her situation after the fact is relevant because it impacts my assessment of her reaction to the situation. But you’re right, in the moment her situation doesn’t matter – what matters is the safety of the driver, passenger, and other motorists on the road. Their safety was impacted, and he needed to deal with the situation. As I said above, I think other steps could have been taken first. But everyone seems to assume he rudely dropped her off in the middle of the street, which doesn’t appear to be the case.

    Having the child become quiet, and the driver inviting the mother and child back on the bus, is also relevant. She was upset about having to walk far – but she didn’t have to. She could have gotten back on the bus.

  94. susan October 1, 2009 at 8:34 am #

    @ Nicole I too wondered about the driver’s state of mind. I figured he either had no kids and was therefore more effected by the screaming, or he has several kids and just couldn’t handle any more of it. 😉 Most other reports indicated that he was polite and calm, though, which doesn’t seem to match up with that line of thinking. Maybe this driver asks a lot of people to leave the bus, for various reasons?

    I take the bus all the time and have actually rarely heard a crying or screaming baby. More often it’s loud cell phone talkers, or swearing teenagers, or obnoxious drunks. Some days I can block it out, and some days I just get off and take the next bus, or *I* would have ended up screaming like a toddler. 🙂

  95. Rebecca October 1, 2009 at 9:58 am #

    I was threatened with being thrown off, back when my oldest was little.
    I was holding him while he was standing in my lap so he could see out the window. The bus driver said I couldn’t do that — he had to be sitting down. So of course he starting crying because he wanted to be standing. When he wouldn’t stop the driver threatened to throw us off. Fortunately we were almost home. I filed a complaint with the bus company, but never heard anything back.

  96. North of 49 October 1, 2009 at 10:01 am #

    oh yes, let’s give candy to the screaming child – and reinforce that behavior instead of teaching the child that it is unacceptable. It has driven me batty that strangers would give my screaming kid (for whatever reason) candy and didn’t bother to ask me first. I’ve told people off “I do not reinforce bad behavior” and taken the candy away.

    As for the child screaming on the bus – envision mother of 2, pregnant with 3rd hoping on the express bus (that does highway travel) with the younger child to go for a doctor’s appointment. Mom gives child a lollipop and proceeds to vegetate. Mom has earbuds in ears but is not listening to her music. Child drops lollipop on the filthy floor and attempts to go after it. Mom stops child. Child has tantrum. Mom gets hit, bit, spit on and kicked by child at the same time as child repeatedly tries to dive after the candy. The driver stops the bus and yells at mom to “stop listening to her (deleted) music and deal with her (deleted) child or get off.” Bus is currently stopped in the middle of nowhere and there is no sidewalk or safe place for pedestrians to walk.
    Do you know what mom did?
    Mom threatened the driver with his job. He had stopped on a highway in the middle of nowhere and threatened to force the PREGNANT mom off all because the child dropped a lollipop and was having a tantrum. She reminded him loudly that he only had to deal with said child for half an hour, mom had to deal with her longer and if he wanted the child to stop screaming, to get the child a new lollipop to replace the one that drop or shut up about it.
    Bus driver got a clue, started to drive again and left mom and child alone for the rest of the ride. I don’t remember if I did a formal complaint, but I would have called the cops if he had made me get off.

    Then there was the drunk off his @$$ jerk that screamed at me to put a boob or bottle in the child and shut it up. I will not put in the expletives he used to describe my child or me. I yelled back at him that he was just a little baby (2 or 3 months) to leave us alone and to stfu. I was unable to nurse because it was too crowded and there was no room. The driver stopped the bus and yelled at the… charming man and told him to leave us alone. A few stops later, I get up to get off, the jerk yells at me again, I tell him to eff off and hop off the bus. The doors close as I flipped a bird to the guy as well. He got up, ran to the doors, but I heard the bus driver tell him “don’t even think of it.” I was already on my celphone with 911 dialed. If he had gotten off, I would have hit send.

    Then there was this one lady who assaulted me when I was nursing my newborn on the bus. Less than 2 weeks old and I had to see the doctor and she leans over and pulls my breast away from the baby. I’d have taken more offense except she was in ethnic dress and I don’t think she understood English.

    I’ve been assaulted on the bus for doing nothing but look “wrong.” I had my eye gouged by another transit user when trying to walk through a busy station to get from the rapid transit to the buses. I’ve been spat on by other passengers and more. It wasn’t so bad when I was a child, but the last decade or so, its as if the average iq of the bus rider has plummeted. Just two weeks ago, I had a driver yell at me for holding up his bus because my youngest had a temper tantrum and we weren’t on the bus when he had to leave. I only have 2 hands and with groceries and 3 kids, I was in no mood. I would have loved him call up his supervisor – I could have had a disability accessibility complaint against him as well.

  97. swa101 October 1, 2009 at 10:01 am #

    I am saddened by some of the responses here. 🙁

    If someone thinks they are important enough that inconveniences like screaming kids having a melt down should never be allowed to happen around them, then I would say we as a society have failed. I hate it when I’m trapped on a bus with a screaming kid. Especially when that kid is mine. But I am not entitled to an irritation-free life. No one is.

    When did we become so anti-child in Canada? When a parent is doing the best he/she can do in the situation he/she is given, how about we cut him/her some slack?

    Reminds me of the time I was in a FAMILY restaurant with two of my kids, 8 weeks pregnant with my third and feeling like crap. My then not quite two year old was crying and no matter what I did I could not get her to stop. What was I to do? It was a 40 minute bus ride from where we were and she was hungry. So, we stuck around only to have an older lady basically tell me that I was a horrible mother for allowing my child to cry and berate me. I suppose I could have left, but then I would have had a hungry, crying kid on the bus, so what would that have solved? Then I could have got kicked off that bus, waited for the next where she would have cried and we would have been kicked off… lather rinse repeat. (And for an added bonus, both kids broke out with the chicken pox three days later (and no, they had no fever or any signs they were sick or I would not have taken them out that day).)

    To say that the bus driver was right is to say that children should only be seen when they are behaved. As parents, we can’t control our kids. Nor should we. We do the best we can to deal with what they throw at us – and boy can they throw a lot. And yes, everyone else has to deal with it. Just like we have to deal with everyone else who irritates us and makes life unpleasant. That’s life.

  98. Bob Davis October 1, 2009 at 12:26 pm #

    This case really stirred up the proverbial hornet’s nest! Back when my daughters were small, I used to take them from their grandparents’ house to our home on the bus fairly regularly for about a year. Fortunately, they were past the “Terrible Twos” phase, so they were always welcome aboard the bus, which usually had the same veteran driver every day. One day I was traveling by myself, and the driver asked, “Where are my young ladies today?” So have faith, children will grow out of the “screaming for no apparent reason” phase; just do a good job so they don’t turn into rowdy, foul-mouthed teenagers.

  99. Stacy October 1, 2009 at 12:51 pm #

    As a mother, and a driver in one of the most vehicle-oriented cities in the world (Los Angeles), I have to say I side with the driver. The *last* thing I want is a driver distracted by a screaming/crying child. Just because bus drivers are accustomed to high levels of noise doesn’t mean the noise from *this child* couldn’t tip him over the edge into “too distracted to drive”. Can I tune out my own kid pretty well? Sure – I’m used to *my kid* and the sounds he makes. Other kids still drive me batty when they hit the right frequency or sound. Kids cries are biologically designed to distract and annoy us so that we’ll tend the child just to make it stop. We are WIRED to not be able to tune it out. It’s a survival trait. In high exposure cases like our own kids we can learn to overcome it, but not always. For all we know, this bus driver has six kids at home he can tune out all the time. That doesn’t make him able to tune out *all kids*.

    The bus system has the rule there for the safety of its drivers, passengers, and other drivers on the road. Expecting drivers to NOT utilize this rule when appropriate (which only the driver can judge) is saying that one kid and one mother’s convenience are worth more than the safety of all of the other passengers and drivers near that bus for however much longer she would have ridden it. I’m sorry, but as a mother I would NEVER assume my child or my convenience were worth someone else’s potential safety. A pain in the keister? Yes. But I would willingly (if frustratedly) get off any bus where a driver said my child’s uncontrollable behavior made it impossible for him to do his job safely. And heaven knows LA’s public trans is anything but convenient as far as catching the next one… Granted, I would ask for a transfer pass so I *could* catch the next one if I didn’t have a full day pass to start with.

  100. William@Freedom Debt Relief October 1, 2009 at 1:16 pm #

    I am also with the MOM, the driver should have been sympathetic.

  101. Nicola October 1, 2009 at 2:43 pm #

    Stacy hit it on the nose for me.

  102. Nicola October 1, 2009 at 3:18 pm #

    @Maureen: I absolutely see what you’re saying about parents bringing their kids to all sorts of places they shouldn’t. I really, really don’t get it. When I was a kid, I had a sitter while mom and dad hit the movies.

    @pentamom: The smoking comparison was just as valid as a screaming child because I said smoking outside. You know, when you go to the fair and are walking behind someone puffing away. Sure, it’s a personal choice – it’s not about that… it’s about doing it in the one place it SHOULD be acceptable (outside) yet it affects others around you. That’s why it’s equivalent (barring internal health issues) to a screaming child… both are being done in a public setting, both in a presumably “appropriate” place, yet both are a nuisance to others around. That’s just the truth of the situation.

    What I’m rather shocked by is the vast amount of commenters who are struck with what I can only call a sense of entitlement. This: “I have to deal with it, I’m in public, so you deal with it too.”

    I’ll tell you, I HAVE kids and went through that toddler stage. I NEVER felt that my “right” to be out in public trumped the “rights” of others to be safe, or have a pleasant time. I knew my kids and what they could handle, and if I made an error in judgment (where my kids melted down) I excused myself to a reasonably unpopulated area to try to fix the situation – not ONLY for the people around me, but for myself! Yeah, it sucks to have people staring at you and judging you about your child and parenting abilities when they’re screaming – it’s no fun… but that does NOT mean that you should develop such a hard-nosed attitude that you tell everyone else to f-off because you’re a parent and they just don’t “get” you or your kiddo.

    It’s common courtesy!!! Manners!!! Since when did we lose the ability to say, “Geez, this bugs the hell out of me, I know it is probably irksome to the people around me, too – let me try to fix this for the benefit of those around me.” That’s asking too much, apparently, since when it’s “public” that means we can take a giant crap on what anyone else thinks.

    Sure, we could have a family friendly world – that would be great, but it’s like Tony said above, “Graciousness is a two-way street…” and he was absolutely right. Most people ARE tolerant of outbursts… most people are NOT tolerant of continued tantrums.

    I consider having that mother step off the bus to calm her kid down (without the driver even having to ask) something she should have done that would have been courteous to everyone. Inconvenient for her, yes, but that’s what happens with kids sometimes – I’ve been there. There wouldn’t have been a problem for her to go to the driver and ask to be let off at the next stop to ensure she could calm her child and try again. It has nothing to do with thinking the kid could calm herself, or that kids are the devil, or that the driver was evil.. for me, it has everything to do with being in a society and trying to be courteous to others… you know… that stuff they tried to teach us in elementary school.

  103. Marion October 1, 2009 at 6:10 pm #

    Hear, hear, Nicola! It amazes me that so many people on this site, including Lenore, seem to think that it’s okay for their misbehaving toddlers to misbehave (because it’s ‘natural’) and that it is okay to shove this misbehaviour in other people’s faces, because apparently the right of other people does not exist.
    Newsflash, oh ye parents of trantrum-prone kids. Just because it’s ‘natural’ doesn’t mean its okay. Peeing on the carpet is natural. You teach your toddler that it is not okay to do so. Digging boogies out of your nostril and eating them is natural. You teach your child that such a thing is socially unacceptable. Throwing tantrums might be ‘natural’, but self-restraint is civilised, and guess what, we live in a civilised (still) society, where screaming in public is not socially acceptable.
    My mother could take us everywhere, because she had drilled in us from an early age the notion of respect of others. My parents didn’t give a damn about our ‘self-esteem’ (that word probably didn’t exist before 1980), but they did install in us a healthy ‘others-esteem’. And guess what? Because we were polite to people, we got nods and smiles of strangers on the bus, and this did wonders for our self-esteem.
    Teach your children to be good citizens, and it will be a reward in itself. Teach your kids that the world can go f*ck itself, and it will come back to bite you in the ass, mark my words.

  104. Jenn October 1, 2009 at 7:33 pm #

    We’ve all been subject to uncontrolled children in public places, and while sometimes the parents are to blame for not taking steps to monitor their child’s behavior, this doesn’t sound like one of those cases. The driver should have been fired. Clearly he’s not competent to handle his job and his insensitivity could have put the mother and her child in danger.

  105. Lola October 1, 2009 at 7:37 pm #

    I think this should go in the “ideas” section, but there it goes… As long as you have toddlers around, you should ALWAYS take with you a bag with:
    1. diapers, paper towels and a plastic bag to keep the stink sealed until you get to a proper wastebasket.
    2. cookies, pretzels, lollypops, or whatever raises sugar levels to a no-tantrum point until it´s lunchtime.
    3. a ball-point pen and scrap paper. Why a pen and not a pencil? You can draw a funny face on your finger and talk to the kid in a funny voice. If it doesn´t work, draw a watch on his wrist.
    4. a small string, and teach him to knot it (around his finger, your finger, pass it through a hole on said scrap paper…

    All of this is worth about 3-4 hours of silence, depending on the kid´s age. But you always have to count on having to carry the kid most of the way anyway (it is medically proved that this sort of contact makes toddlers segregate endorphins, and reduces stress levels). Works for me.

  106. swa101 October 1, 2009 at 8:40 pm #

    @Nicola – I found your whole post just incredibly ironic. How can you talk about common courtesy when this mom and her child were shown none? How can you talk about entitlement when you seem to feel you are entitled to live a life free of irritation?

    In this situation, common courtesy would dictate that the mother stay on the bus and continue to try and calm her child, not kick her off. The ones with the entitlement issues were certainly NOT the mother and her child.

    What ever happened to compassion? To see a mother with a screaming child now, people just assume that it’s the mother’s fault. You, having been there, should know that kids aren’t small adults. They don’t think or act the same way and we as parents are left to try and figure out why they’re being cranky when we think they should be fine. How about showing a struggling mom some compassion and give her an encouraging smile, instead of assuming that she’s able to control her kid and she’s just doing it for the inconvenience of other.

    What does kicking her off the bus really do? It would foist the problem on to the next bus that picks her up. But, at least the bus driver who kicked her off gets a quiet ride, right? Like he’s entitled to and all that.

    @ Lola – While bringing toys to distract a toddler certainly could stop the tantrum, that is not a fail safe solution. By you suggesting this, it seems like you think that all children have the capability to be tantrum free and should be tantrum free. If they’re not, then who is to blame? Oh right, that would be the parent because he/she forgot to bring the food or toys or whatever. Kids are tricky creatures at times. What works for one doesn’t work for all. Actually, what works for one may not work for him the very next day.

    @Marion – Are you suggesting that a 20 month old child has the capacity to practise self restraint? Teach your kid that they have a right to live a life free of the irritation of a crying toddler while out in public, and you are contributing to the entitlement issues that are plaguing society much more so than a mother who is desperately trying to calm her ornery child on a city bus. This is not the same as a child throwing a tantrum in the middle of the movie theatre. I would not be on the side of the mother were that the case. This is a case of a mother using public transportation to get her and her child home and doing the best she could with what her child was throwing at her that day. There are times in life when, yes, we do have to put up with a tantrum and this situation is one of them.

  107. Lola October 1, 2009 at 9:09 pm #

    swa101: Not at all. I actually think that when a kid throws a tantrum it´s no one´s fault (ok, depending on the kid´s age, right?). Fortunately, I live in a country where everyone assumes that dogs go “whoof”, cats go “miaw” and babies go “waaah”. Besides, adults here are as noisy as can be, so no one bothers if my children shout around bit. Come to think of it, I have yet to step on a public bus where the driver hasn´t got his radio blaring over the engine´s hum… Even engaging in arguments with the passengers about politics or whatever…

  108. Mae Mae October 1, 2009 at 9:32 pm #

    Boy, this really makes me appreciate our public transportation system, CENTRO. We have great drivers.

    I take the bus sometimes out of necessity and sometimes because I choose to. The route I am on goes through a part of town where there are a lot of single parents with no other option. Cabs in our city are outrageously priced. I have never seen a driver or a passenger upset at a parent with a cranky child or for having bulky strolllers. I am never annoyed at small children because they are doing what children do. Most parents I have see do address it but really, what are you gonna do? I agree with the poster that said giving candy and such reinforces bad behavior. I would not allow this ofr my children either but again, maybe out of consideration for the other passengers I may have made an exception if my child actually quieted down. I do get annoyed at adults and teens screaming on their phones or using vulgar language.

    @Maureen – I hope you are not suggesting that using public transportation is something that should wait until children are older. I agree with the restaurant or a movie. However, public transportation for most in my area is not a choice. Also, I could never afford to hire a sitter for places like the grocery store (believe me I wish I could have) so when I had the time to go it did not matter what mood my children were in. We were going.

  109. andreas October 1, 2009 at 9:32 pm #

    I am raising two children in the city and rely solely on public transportation. It is fear of strangers that keeps people from lending a helpful hand in these situations, accepting help from strangers when they need it, and makes them talk about “bad neighborhoods”. A lot of really nice people, who understand about transporting children under difficult circumstances on public transportation live in “bad” neighborhoods. The bus driver was an *&^*&^*&, and it’s not possible for us to know if the mother was unable to assert proper authority over her toddler. But, I really hope the other passengers pitched in—–I mean, did they let the bus driver kick the lady off? In my “bad neighborhood” they would not have let that happen.

  110. pentamom October 1, 2009 at 10:30 pm #

    Nicola, the reason it’s not comparable to an adult smoking is that you effectively can tell the adult to put out the cigarette. You can’t effectively tell the child to stop screaming, and you don’t have to kick the adult (plus another person who is not creating the annoyance) out of the public venue in order to deal with it.

    And no, I don’t think I’m entitled to be out in public with my kids acting in any terrible way without taking any responsibility for it. I do think, however, that a sense of courtesy and respect for others extends to parents in tough situations with crying children who may not have any option other than to be where they are at the moment. The child in this situation was presumably not having a meltdown when they left the house, or even when they got on the bus.

  111. Mae Mae October 1, 2009 at 10:47 pm #

    Also, I do not blame the mom for not getting back on. She was probably terrified that the baby would start crying again. What would the bus driver had done in that situation? Pull over a few blocks later and politely kick her off again?

  112. Kathy October 1, 2009 at 10:49 pm #

    That driver should have been yanked off that bus and retrained. And seriously how much crap should this woman have been carrying? Pretzels, fruit, candy, coloring books, pens, paper… Maybe she should just hire a clown to entertain her child whenever they ride the bus. If the bus driver continues to kick mothers with small children off his bus, he can apply for the job when he gets sacked.

  113. Greg October 1, 2009 at 10:58 pm #

    Many of the comments here make me want to scream at the top of my lungs. People can be so ugly. Kicking this woman off the bus was wrong. Period. Parents who were lucky to have kids who always behaved in public, and worse–those with older children who have simply forgotten that they once threw tantrums too–should get off their high horses. Every child is different. Some throw tantrums. Bad situations where kids are hungry or sick or hurting are sometimes unavoidable. It’s not the parents fault. When I am out and see a kid throwing a fit I feel sympathy for the parent. I know that this could be me, that this probably was me at one time. I wonder if I can help. What I usually do is simply smile at the parent and resolve not to let it bother me. The people who give the angry looks–those are the people with the problem!

    One more thing: I once rode those buses in Vancouver. They used them as school buses when I was a kid. Even way back then the drivers were surly and unhappy. They were never friendly and made it clear the kids were not welcome. They also took no responsibility at all for what the bullies did in the back. They just looked the other way. Too bad this driver didn’t do the same thing–when this time it was appropriate.

  114. Marion October 1, 2009 at 11:07 pm #


    The Webster definition of a ‘tantrum’ is ‘a violent fit of bad temper’. If a child is old enough to have a fit of bad temper, it’s old enough to learn to curb its temper. ‘Twenty month old’ is a misleading term for a two and a half year old. It’s not a baby, it’s a little budding person, who has just found out that it has an own identity, and who wants to assert that. Do yourself a favour and read John Rosemond’s ‘Making the terrible twos terrific’.
    In fact, I’ll quote John Rosemond’s (child psychiatrist and columnist) column about a similar incident in a restaurant (just supplant ‘restaurant’ with ‘bus’):

    “I feel a column coming on,” my wife said, doing her usual read-my-mind thing.
    It was another superb nine o’clock in the morning in Charleston, SC, where we had come for a brief respite before the start of my travel season. We were seated in one of the finest of the many fine breakfast bistros in town, in one of the finest of the many fine hotels in town, and I was about to jump out of my skin. Seated directly across from us was a family that included grandparents, a father, and two preschool children, both of whom were shrieking and bellowing as if they were riding a roller coaster at Dizzy World. The grandparents, our generation, were doing their best to ignore the little yahoos, while the father kept up a litany of empty threats.
    “Now, if you don’t calm down, we’re going to have to go back to the room.”
    “If we can’t use our inside voices, then we’re going to have to leave and not have breakfast. You want breakfast, don’t you? Yes? Then let’s calm down, okay?”
    “Okay, now that’s enough! One more and we’re going back to the room.”
    Dad was about as effective as someone trying to blow soap bubbles into a hurricane, and it was about then that Willie made her prediction. “It’s my job,” I said, then I got up and asked the hostess if she’d mind re-seating us, which she did, at the other side of the room, smack dab between two tables of parents and preschool children.
    These children, however, were invisible, which is what children should be trained from an early age to be in restaurants and other civilized places. Both sets of parents obviously understand that parenting carries responsibilities to ones fellow citizens, primary of which is the responsibility to not inflict under-disciplined children on innocent bystanders, and especially in fine restaurants where said bystanders have paid good money to enjoy not just good food, but a pleasant atmosphere.
    As proven by the latter two sets of parents, training children at a young age to behave themselves in restaurants is not an impossible dream. Doing so is nothing short of a demonstration of respect for others. Yes? Yes. Therefore, not doing so is disrespectful. Other descriptors come to mind, including common, vulgar, and boorish.
    I hope the reader is clear that the problem at the first table was not the children. And it was not the grandparents either. I could feel their pain from ten feet away. The problem was the father—and the mother, who was guilty-by-proxy. They represent parents who don’t understand that raising a child involves obligations beyond the child. Parents who understand those obligations raise well-disciplined children, and the most disciplined children are also the happiest children. Therefore, parents who understand those obligations do their children the best of services.
    My mother used to say that good citizenship began in the home. True, but one of the first tests of good citizenship occurs in a nice restaurant, which is to say, if your children can’t pass it, then don’t bring them. And if you bring them only to discover that you have been prematurely optimistic, remove them. Thank you.”

    End quote.

  115. susan October 1, 2009 at 11:20 pm #

    @ Greg So…you once ride a bus in another city (this happened in Victoria, not Vancouver), many years ago, and bus drivers that are now likely retired were cranky to you then. What does that have to do with anything? Seriously.

    I’m still finding everyone saying that the mom couldn’t have been expected to control the child, because she’s a toddler and sometimes there’s just nothing you can do. And I think almost every single person on here agrees with that. The debate is not over whether she should been able to control her child – even the bus driver didn’t say that. The debate is over whether her child screaming in the bus driver’s ear was a hazard to other passengers and motorists. My opinion is that if the bus driver feels it impaired his driving ability, then yes, the screaming child was a hazard. To those who think the driver should have been “yanked off immediately and retrained”….wouldn’t she have been in exactly the same situation then? Not on the bus, screaming child, potentially having to walk home, etc etc. Not to mention all those other people on the bus.

    Should other people have attempted to help her with the baby? Sure, I think so, and if I was sitting close I probably would have attempted it. But how many self-righteous people are there who constantly complain that parenting is hard enough without other people sticking their noses in and judging their parenting? This is why people are nervous to step in and assist.

  116. just me October 1, 2009 at 11:22 pm #

    @ Nicola Thank you – wonderfully, perfectly said!

  117. Nicole October 1, 2009 at 11:35 pm #

    @Marion: I hate to nitpick but since you made a point of highlighting it, 20 months old is not two and half. 20 months old is 1 year and 8 months, still 4 months away from being 2. I don’t think we should get caught up in semantics over the word tantrum, either. We all know that’s a word we use for almost any age child who is inconsolable. I use it in refereance to my 10 month olds and maybe I’m using the word wrong but we all know what it means. And it doesn’t change the fact that she is 1 year and 8 months old.

    The fact is, she was crying/yelling and this was distracting to the driver. I don’t think bus drivers responsible for all those people should be distracted but at the same time, wouldn’t kids and their caretakers being getting kicked off the bus every day? Most bus rides are free of screaming children but my goodness, it can’t be such a rare occurence. And since this made the news I would have to say that kicking screaming kids off is not common place. So, what is different about this bus driver from all those other bus drivers who find other ways to do their job with screaming kids? Or with drunken loud mouths? Yelling teenagers? Or whatever other distraction. They ask the person to quiet down, they ask them to go to the back of the bus if they can’t keep the baby/kid quiet. But I don’t think that kicking a kid and her mom off of a city bus is the best response to a situation like this. Certainly it is not the common response or we would hear about it a lot more often.

  118. Kari October 1, 2009 at 11:47 pm #

    So, we kick the kid off. She’s still crying (kicking her off won’t make a child stop crying unless she was crying because she was car sick). Mom has to find another bus, gets on (hope her cold groceries don’t ruin) and gets kicked off again because child is even MORE tired. This trip take 5 times as long because no one will just get this pair home. They kick her off. When the bus drives off, it leaves the person talking for 20 minutes on their cell phone, the person laughing to loud at their friend’s joke, and the teenager that is trading last licks or crude comments in their seats. I would have, as one person suggested, waited for the cops. Maybe they would have taken me home. Heheh. Ridiculous. Kids are kids, let’s quit expecting them to be adults.

  119. Kari October 1, 2009 at 11:52 pm #

    “‘Twenty month old’ is a misleading term for a two and a half year old. ”

    In what country does this math work. A 20-month-old (I have one) is not even 2 years old, much less are they 30 months old (which is what 2 1/2 years old is). They can’t even speak sentences yet.

    And “invisible children”. No, I never want my child to be made to feel invisible. I want them to speak, have fun, and relax like everyone else in the restaurant. My children should keep their mouths shut because they are young, but the people in the next table can be as loud as they desire because they hit a magical age? My chld says please and thank you while the guy at the table next to me uses every curse word he knows (within ear shot of my children). This happened last week, in a nice restaurant. Guess who’s 4 year old said his first curse word yesterday, guess where he learned it?

  120. susan October 2, 2009 at 12:05 am #

    @ Kari By all reports the child actually stopped crying immediately after exiting the bus – soon enough that the bus driver invited her back on board. The difference between all the noises you list is clear….the bus driver was able to tune out other things, but not a child screaming in his ear. Because again, by all reports, this wasn’t a child simply fussing and saying no repeatedly. This was a child in a full blown outrage. And like an above commenter noted, we are designed to have difficulty tuning this out.

    I think most people who are parents have completely lost perspective on how distracting a screaming child can be.

  121. indosungod October 2, 2009 at 12:06 am #

    Reading the comments here the problem is not with kids, in general it is with the adults behaving badly.

    Raise your hand if you have travelled in a bus in an Asian or African country.

  122. indosungod October 2, 2009 at 12:09 am #

    Reading the comments here the problem is not with kids, it is the adults with a weird sense of entitlement.

    Raise your hand if you have travelled in a bus in an Asian or African country.

  123. Mae Mae October 2, 2009 at 12:33 am #

    Marion – I too believe that children should be taught to behave from a young age and that that is the parent’s responsibility. My children are very well behaved. I get comments all the time from people. Some people even think I’m a little too strict at times. But guess what? Everyone has an off day now and then. 1yo’s probably have them more often than most. Get over it. As for the restaurant, yes, I believe the dad should have removed the children until they were quiet but I do not think that children should ever be invisible. My children are people too and they have rights. I will teach them how to behave but I will not treat them as sub-human.

  124. Heather October 2, 2009 at 1:00 am #

    If I give you a cookie I will be reinforcing your bad behavior… Just keep screaming until you learn screaming is the least effective option…

  125. Uly October 2, 2009 at 1:19 am #

    Why would you assume that I’ve never been in a similar situation with an upset child?

    Because your language and attitude make it clear you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    It’s very ignorant of *you* to make assumptions like that. Try being in that situation with a child that isn’t yours, who doesn’t respond to you as well as to mommy or daddy. I have a complete and total understanding of what that is like.

    Mm, maybe. I kinda think you’re a liar, though.

  126. susan October 2, 2009 at 1:28 am #

    @ Uly That’s your choice to believe that – again and again, I’ve stated that I don’t believe it’s easy to have children, and that I don’t believe she was expected to have complete control over a child’s behaviour. That is not the issue. As Nicola said above, even if other people have a duty to assist, the parent still has a duty to those around her. That is the central issue.

    I know exactly what I’m talking about, and STILL think the parent (or guardian, or child care provider) has a duty of care to those around them. It works both ways.

    Even if you think I’m lying, my argument still stands. And your arguments are still just attacking me, and not the issue at hand.

  127. BMS October 2, 2009 at 2:04 am #

    Hey, if the folks in Canada can remove a crying 20 month old, then can I petition to have the business man who is talking at the top of his lungs into his cell phone on the train removed as well? How about the teenager whose iPod is so loud that I can hear what the song is from 4 rows away? (Note to that teenager: Save now for the hearing aids, ok?) Or the frat boys laughing at some stupid joke as loud as possible?

    Public transit is what it is. If you are so thin skinned that the noise made by other humans is that distrubing to you, get a bike, walk, get some headphones or earplugs, something. But don’t expect the rest of the world to respect your need for a cone of silence.

  128. susan October 2, 2009 at 2:08 am #

    @ BMS It wasn’t the passengers complaining. It was the driver of the bus concerned for everyone’s safety. I don’t think bus drivers choosing to bike, walk, or otherwise not show up at work would help anyone else get around.

  129. mammatiamat October 2, 2009 at 2:14 am #

    The people here siding with the driver are a great argument in favor of corporal punishment…for idiotic adults.

    Public transit is not a luxury snugglebox. Tired kids are the least of it. Try gang members packing heat, slutty loud teens with foul mouths, mentally ill screaming people, bad smelling bums, druggies with open sores, yuppies screaming at their cell phones, people with leaky headphones and a penchant for death metal, “special” people who try to make inappropriate conversations with you if you are a woman under 60, public urinators, couples doing everything but and then some, drunken frat boys…the list goes on.

    The public is loud, ugly, and smells bad. Either you hold your nose and ride because you have to or you feel it is worth the tradeoff, or you figure out something else.

  130. susan October 2, 2009 at 2:30 am #

    @ mammatiamat See my comment above yours. This has ZERO to do with the passengers.

  131. mammatiamat October 2, 2009 at 2:47 am #

    The safety of the 20 month old must also be considered, and her mother. Is it safe to drop them far from their intended stop? If I got kicked off my bus, I’d have an hour to wait. On a road with no shoulder to speak of. That’s not safe. If the driver was that concerned, he should have just pulled over and waited.

    And again, if he can’t drive with that kind of distraction, a new career is a better choice than discrimination.

    Children are people. We don’t get to pick and choose what kind of people we deign to “tolerate.”

  132. Jenne October 2, 2009 at 3:19 am #

    For those siding with the driver– do you have any evidence the driver suggested anything other than removing the child from the bus? Like, maybe, moving to the back of the bus? Because if the problem was the child “screaming in his ear” you’d think that moving the child farther away would help.

    As for the idea that the woman could have made other choices– well, yes, maybe she could. She’s pretty clearly upper middle class and white and all kinds of privileged, from the picture. But unless the driver was indulging in reverse snobbery, there’s a good chance that if he did it to her, he’d do it to someone else who wouldn’t have those choices.

    I’ve never ridden a bus in Vancouver– never been there, in fact. But in other areas where I HAVE ridden a bus, including NYC, you can’t depend on there being ‘another bus along in five minutes’. Nor can I just blythely assume that one can get a taxi anywhere in Vancouver– there are plenty of places, even NYC, where you can’t just flag a cab, and in smaller cities it may take as long to call a cab and have arrive as it would take to walk to your destination. And if someone kicks you off the bus because the child is making noise, then invites you back on right away, what’s to stop them from kicking you off again if the child makes noise again– which, if she was coming *from* home, would leave her farther from home. Then again, I love the “Transit guy” in the comments on the article who claims that “many bags and a toddler onto a bus is unsafe and irresponsible to the other passengers.”

  133. Mae Mae October 2, 2009 at 3:59 am #

    Hey Susan, it may have helped this poor woman if he hadn’t showed up for work. Sorry, but I had to laugh as soon as I read that.

    As for bags and toddlers being unsafe for other passengers, ha! It happens all the time on my bus and no one has gotten hurt or even been that inconvenienced. I bet you guys would be the first ones calling CPS on her if she had no other way to get groceries or toiletries for her baby. Trust me, no one wants to be riding the bus with bags and babies and strollers but sometimes we have no choice. How about some empathy?

  134. Nicola October 2, 2009 at 4:01 am #

    One thing I’m just not understanding is how many people are bringing up all the other loud and obnoxious things adults and teens do on the bus.

    I’ll tell you first hand, I’ve witnessed bus drivers here in my city (when I’ve actually ridden for whatever reason) kick kids off the bus (to which I’m sure someone would gripe and moan about teens not being able to do anything just because their teens) as well as an adult with a severe case of foul mouth get kicked off BECAUSE I had my son with me and the driver was ticked off at the fact that it was his first ride and was dealing with a foul man.

    That same driver actually got off the bus to steal a balloon from a car lot (no joke) to give to my son just because he was delighted at the fact my son was sitting beside me quietly (yet with some excitement on his face) riding the bus for the first time.

    So all the comments on “well why doesn’t he this” “well what about these people” Well what if those people weren’t on the daggone bus??? Who is to say that if they were, he wouldn’t have kicked them off as well? I’ve seen it happen!

    @mammatiamat: Corporeal punishment? Are you serious?! What a joke – you can honestly sit there and proclaim that we, who have a different opinion than you, are so idiotic we deserve to be slaughtered. Yes, you’re a great community leader with that one. Score one for the supposed “family-friendly” bunch, right? I am in favor of **manners** madame, and never once would I have suggested that people like you who do not seem to deem them necessary for even the smallest patrons should die because you disagree. I feel far from being the idiotic one in this conversation.

    @susan’s article: I think the guy saying “invisible” kids has some up in arms… me too. I understand what he’s trying to say though, and have seen it in action. I’ve flown with my kids twice when they were before the age of 3 and 5. Each time we bought a sack of toys and activities they had never seen before and kept half for the flight home. Passengers came up to us every time, every flight, complimenting us and commenting on how well behaved our children were. We went to restaurants and even though they were done and my husband and I were still eating, they would sit and color and wait because, unlike home where they could be excused and run around, restaurants were public places where manners were in order. I can’t tell you the number of appreciative people who give our kids MORE attention because of their ability to be decent… even when they were toddlers.

    I think part of the issue being confused here as well is that people are taking the idea of a kid having a bad moment as one in the same as a kid having an all out temper tantrum. They are not the same. Most people are tolerant and accepting of a child having a bad moment (no, I’m not talking seconds here, I’m talking a minute or two). Most people are not tolerant of a child who is throwing a full on tantrum for longer than that. No one here was on that bus to know HOW that driver was feeling, what stress he might have been through that day, etc. Everyone seems absolutely ready, however, to fire him or curse him out because he did what he deemed necessary to the safety of his job – and when he even OFFERED TO LET THE WOMAN BACK ON THE BUS AFTER THE KID CALMED DOWN, she refused.

    To say the driver was completely out of line or just being an ass is ridiculous. Someone above mentioned it – had he been on his ipod or on his cell phone, we would have been upset that he was being distracted from his duties. If there would have been a cursing adult or teen on the bus, I’d hope he’d have kicked them off, too.

    Again – “public” does NOT mean you get to take a crap on everyone else. Public is the place where you put on your best MANNERS to make life tolerable for everyone in society. No one is asking for an irritation-free existence. That would be perfectly awesome for me, but I make not illusions that that would ever happen. I do, however, expect other people to make just as reasonable an effort as I do to use their best manners and to try to teach their children the same.

    If I see an effort being made, would I be upset at a tantruming child? Absolutely not. A person sitting there making idle threats to their kid or doing nothing at all? Absolutely upsets me. And it wouldn’t be the child I’d be upset with, friends.

  135. Nicola October 2, 2009 at 4:09 am #

    Ah… for the non-believers:

  136. Maureen October 2, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    @Mae Mae – No where did I say that public transportation was somewhere I thought people shouldn’t bring children. What I did say was this:

    “Let me preface this long rant with the fact that I feel like throwing a crying baby off the bus is outrageous. Now if the kid was not sitting and running up and down the aisle, the bus driver would have had a reason. Otherwise, this is what little ones do on occasion. Parents shouldn’t have to live in a bubble.”

    I did mention fancy restaurants, late-night movies, and weddings where children haven’t been invited, as some of the places I mentioned that children shouldn’t be and parents need to get a sitter.

  137. Mae Mae October 2, 2009 at 10:44 am #

    Maureen, I was referring to your comment that some things can and should wait until they are older. That’s why I said that I hoped you weren’t including public transportation in that and didn’t state that you were. I agreed with you about movies and restaurants. I don’t think children should automatically be precluded from family dinners at restaurants but I believe children should be removed if they cannot control themselves. I have done this before. We asked the waiter to make our order to go and ate at home. That’s just common courtesy.

  138. Michelle October 2, 2009 at 11:35 pm #

    If the driver can’t handle driving with a cranky child on the bus then he shouldn’t be a bus driver. How is he doing to drive on busy days where the bus is full of people yelling, chatting, arguing, all squished like sardines. How’s he dong to drive with drunk passengers or grown men fighting, or the disabled who don’t have the ability to control themselves?Is he going to kick off a wheelchair bound disabled person who groans too loud? If you get easily distracted you should not be a bus driver!

    A month ago I almost flipped out on a bus driver. Bused all the way home from the downtown area of my city to my neighbourhood(45 min) with my son, he started crying just before our stop, and the driver was like “That’s annoying, keep hime quiet” yet he didn’t have a problem with the really loud man who sat up front who kept bothering the other passengers, or the girl yelling at her boyfriend on her cellphone, or the rowdy schools. No, he had to problem with the baby on the nearly empty bus.

    A story for the whole “Control your kids’ thing: three days ago I almost flipped out on another person, this time a cashier at a Sears. My son was being cranky, kept trying to grab at things, blah blah, you know, being a toddler. I was in line to pay for something, and the cashier said to the woman in front of me, loud enough for all the hear, “Some women just don’t train them soon enough”. He’s a child, not a dog! What does she want me to do, put a collar on him and beat with a newspaper? to make it more irritating, the cash was in the baby section. You’d think someone who runs the baby sections knows stuff about babies!

  139. sylvia_rachel October 3, 2009 at 12:50 am #

    @Michelle — believe it or not, yes, there are people who pretty much do think parents should beat their kids with a newspaper to “train” them not to misbehave. They tend to be the same people who think that “We don’t spank our kids” means “Our kids have total freedom to do absolutely anything they want, anywhere, anytime, and we don’t care,” rather than, say, “We are able to teach and discipline our kids without hitting them.”

    I have spent 17 years taking buses, subways, and streetcars pretty much everywhere in the city where I live (pop. ~4 million), and I have come to the conclusion that transit operators fall into two basic categories: those who drive buses (or whatever) because they love it; and those who drive buses (or whatever) because for some reason they’re stuck with it, and are bitter. There’s just no other way to account for the almost equal division of my experiences between friendly, smiling, helpful, considerate, kind drivers with a sense of humour who go out of their way to help their passengers (like the guy who made an extra stop to collect me and my daughter this morning because we just missed the WALK light to cross to our regular stop, or the one who picked us up last night even though he was technically out of service and took us to the subway station where we could wait for our actual bus indoors) and surly, rude, inconsiderate, time-serving drivers who appear to resent their passengers’ very existence (like the many who have clearly seen me running flat-out for one bus stop or another and pulled away, after making eye contact, just as I got to the front door).

    Bus drivers take a lot of abuse on some Toronto routes, I admit, often for things that are totally not their fault. But an awful lot of ’em seem to be able to handle it with equanimity …

  140. swa101 October 3, 2009 at 3:46 am #

    @Marion – Last I checked, a two year old is 24 months, no? This child was 20 months old, so just over a year and a half. Even still, are you suggesting that a two year old has the mental capacity to be aware of everyone around them and realize how their actions affect others? I don’t know any two year old that isn’t self centred. It’s age appropriate and it sucks and it’s what happens from time to time despite the best efforts of the parents. That aside, 20 months is not 2 years. So even if you (unrealistically) expect that from 2 year olds, you still expect it from those under 2?

    There are 7 definitions for fag by Webster’s dictionary and none of them say it’s a derogatory term for homosexuals. So, I guess that means when someone calls my gay friends fags, they mean “an English public-school boy who acts as servant to an older schoolmate”. I’ll be sure to tell them that the next time they tell me their landlord calls them a couple of fags again. A temper tantrum in a two year old (or not even two year old as this is the case) does not fit into the Webster’s definition.

    The story you posted is not comparable. The restaurant was a place where the people could easily leave and deal with cranky kids. If they needed more sleep, they could go back to the room. If they were hungry, they could eat. The mom on the bus was, well, on a bus. Not the same. The dad in the story was issuing empty threats. The mom on the bus was trying to calm her child. She could not leave to deal with it. What was she to do if her daughter was tired unexpectedly? I suppose she could have let her daughter run around the bus and she would have stopped crying. I have no idea who the guy is who wrote that, but I’ll look him up. I would never, however, use a story written by someone who thinks “children should be invisible in civilized society” and that a mother is “guilty by proxy” regarding a situation she wasn’t even present for to illustrate any point I make. My children are seen and heard. And well behaved, I may add, because I don’t issue empty threats and they know it. But, even my well behaved kids would have a meltdown at the most inappropriate time. If I could remove them from the situation I would for the good of the people around and for the good of me and my child. But, on a bus? Sorry. You have to put up with it and so do I.

  141. meh October 3, 2009 at 9:54 pm #

    What ever happened to a good old fashioned gag?

  142. Dragonwolf October 10, 2009 at 5:58 am #

    Maureen —

    Re: The Tut exhibit.

    Perhaps this is nitpicking, but it’s kind of bugging me…

    As one who was reading — and appreciating — Jack London at age 4, how do you know the child didn’t appreciate the Tut exhibit? If he wasn’t misbehaving, why does it matter if he was there?

    Yeah, you may consider the “hands-on” museum more age-appropriate, but how do you know this kid wasn’t fascinated by ancient Egyptian artifacts and completely enthralled to be there?

    I remember going to the Natural History Museum (one that would likely be considered an “adult” museum to most people, as it was very much hands-off) at his age and being fascinated by the exhibits there. I remember a traveling exhibit of ancient archaeological sites, ranging from the typical Egyptian ones to Arctic seal hunting tribes, and it’s one of my fondest childhood memories.

    I understand your concern over whether infants should be there, and I pretty much agree that they should probably have been left with a sitter. However, I don’t agree that a two or three year old is too young to appreciate things like King Tut. They might not be able to grasp some of the more complex nuances about the various displays, but they do understand more than what you might think (and come to think of it, I know many adults who can’t grasp some of the more complex nuances of various form of art or museum exhibits).

    I think the question there is, how old is “old enough” for things such as “hands-off” museums? I’d say that depends greatly on the child, and as long as the child isn’t misbehaving, who are we, as strangers, to decide whether or not they should be there?

  143. kherbert October 11, 2009 at 2:14 am #

    I agree. I remember taking cousins – then 5 and 8 yo to the Pompeii exhibit. The 5 yo loved watching them repair the frescoes (SP). The 8 yo wanted to read every label.

    I take my niece (4 yo), and almost 2 yo nephew to the Art Museum and the Natural History Museum. I take my clues from them and leave before they are tired or bored. I’m lucky that in Houston the Museum of Fine Arts, Natural History Museum, Contemporary Art Museum, Zoo, several other museums are conveniently located near/in Herman Park.

    So I can do quiet museum, walk through park, Natural history Eyes not hands galleries, walk through butterfly exhibit with hands on activities, roll down the hill at Miller Outdoor Theatre, take the park train to the zoo, visit Topper the gairaffe, and 2 or 3 other animals, then finally exhausted but happy kids zonked out in the back seat as I drive home. Also a very happy sister who gets a quiet night at home because her kids go to bed early and sleep through the night.

  144. daalny October 14, 2009 at 3:11 am #

    You forgot the other lyric on Wheels on the Bus. “the Mommy on the bus go shush, shush, shush!”

  145. jackie December 2, 2009 at 12:11 am #

    This is crazy! A bus driver kicking a young toddler and mom off a bus because of the toddler crying! Toddler’s especially ones younger then 3 have a hard time controlling themselves. And parents can’t always control them either. I have two toddlers under 3. We have horrible moments and great moments. I would think this bus driver should have been fired or put on unpaid leave. Maybe whomever gets on his bus from now on should hand him a pair of ear plugs as they get on.

  146. Charles brooks December 18, 2009 at 1:30 pm #

    Often we forget the little guy, the SMB, in our discussions of the comings and goings of the Internet marketing industry. Sure there are times like this when a report surfaces talking about their issues and concerns but, for the most part, we like to talk about big brands and how they do the Internet marketing thing well or not so well.

  147. Bill Baskett February 2, 2010 at 6:07 pm #

    Where did you get your facts?

    I was on that bus and this story does not resemble reality.

    I poo-hoo your website.

  148. Elementary School Teacher February 5, 2010 at 9:52 am #

    It’s funny how people will react to a story without knowing the full story. If you don’t know the details, don’t comment. So although I cannot comment about this issue, I can say that from my experience of going to restaurants and watching countless numbers of parents doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to control their screaming children, some parents need to learn how to be better parents!

  149. myoasis89 July 28, 2010 at 9:24 am #

    I am younger, don’t have kids. I have babysat a lot of troubling kids. No one else in my neighbourhood wanted to babysit these kids but I was asked to because I was able to take care of their tantrums and situations of the like.

    I was only 13

    What I simply did was distract them. Read them a story, get them a snack find them toys to play with, have conversations with them. If they went into crying mode, pick them up, sooth them, rub their backs

    Teach them good behaviour by setting an example, or explaining to them at their level what is acceptable and what is not and how to deal with their feelings

    I know it is tough for mom’s to control their kids and inhibit them from their emotional break downs but I think it is definatly something to consider when others who ahve to take the bus may ahve had a stressful day themselves and their only time to relax is on the bus

    The bus driver does need to drive other passangers safely to their destinations…and a kid crying at the top of their longs non stop could endanger other passangers. I think it does make sense to take your kid off the bus and let them calm down break taking another bus…or if you can, leave your kids at home with a babysitter so you can get errands done

    its just common curtosy…I’m sure, before you had kids, you ahd the same experience of listening to a wailing kid on the bus.

    It brings my blood pressure up…

    some passangers have migrains, or other health issues to deal with

    I’m not saying kids should be band from society or that they are a nuisance, or that they have no place…but I’m saying what is common curtosy.

    if a kid is teething…bring them a teething toy to chew on

    if a kid is hungry, don’t forget snacks…when I was a toddler, my mom said I was quiet and didn’t cause problems…she brought the right essentials and knew how to dela with difficult situations

  150. Baldo Minaudo November 30, 2010 at 2:19 am #

    This is deplorable. To think that a bus driver, who’s job is to provide transportation to those that have no other means or who choose to entrust their lives in that bus driver would just abandon a needy mother on the streets – what was the bus driver thinking? Could you imagine throwing someone in a wheelchair off the bus because they soiled their pants and smelled up the bus? It is sort of the same think.

    I don’t know all the details and don’t know if the information is totally accurate or not, but taking the details at face value I can only imagine that the bus driver must have been having a challenge concentrating. If that’s the case, then maybe he shouldn’t be driving a bus. One of the requirements of the position should be to be able to do your job regardless of noice or smell or whatever else can get in the way.

    A mother with a toddler is busy protecting the toddler and taking care of that toddler. It is not as though she is being selfish at the expense of others. The bus driver should be looking to support and protect that mother, not leaving her on the side walk.

    This isn’t about laying blame on the driver. It should be about getting to the bottom of something that is wrong and fixing it. What is the bus company doing that contributed to this situation?- hiring practices, job evaluations, corporate policy, operational failsafes, etc.?

    It also surprises me that you mention most Canadians support the driver. I would say that you’re sample could be tainted/biased. I find it difficult to believe than any bus passenger would support the idea of being booted off the bus if the bus driver didn’t like them, the way they smelled, the way they dress, their accent, etc. Because that’s pretty much what they’re saying if they support the bus driver. His/her job should be to service the passengers, not make his job more comfortable. The passengers are his ‘boss’ not his victims.

    This is an example of the irresponsible behaviour I write about in my book where I offer some solutions on how to be more human.

    B Minaudo
    Toronto, ON

  151. lin March 17, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    are we back in victorian times when children should be seen and not heard, and all the damage that caused to peoples development and subsequent parenting. Some families still bear the brunt, the incidents of child abuse are quite high.

  152. sahah March 17, 2011 at 7:49 pm #


  153. Josh March 17, 2011 at 11:22 pm #



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