Bus driver fired for using her own SUV 'was strictly thinking about the kids'
Marlene Leung, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, March 6, 2014 9:21AM EST
Calgary residents are throwing their support behind a local school bus driver who was fired for picking up a group of students in her own SUV.
Kendra Lindon was fired by First Student Canada after she picked up six junior high students in her own vehicle last month, after discovering that her bus wouldn’t start.
There weren't enough seat belts for two of her passengers, but Lindon said, at the time, she was more concerned about the students waiting in the extreme cold. The temperature that morning was in the minus 20s. She also said she wasn't sure a replacement bus for the kids would ever come.
"I wasn't thinking about the policies, I was strictly thinking about the kids," she told CTV Calgary.
CTV Calgary asked its viewers in a poll whether Kindon should have been fired for her actions. Of the more than 4,000 votes, 90 per cent said they didn't support the punishment.
On a CTV Calgary article detailing Lindon’s case, readers had mixed views of her actions.
“If that was my son waiting for his bus, I would have loved that his bus driver would care about his safety that much that went out of her way and picked him up in her personal car !! come on people !” a reader named Mimi said.
A reader named Marc said: “Shame on her, some kids had no seatbelts, she did not trust her own company. Very poor judgement on her part.”
And another reader named Carole wrote: “I think it's a little harsh firing her. A warning would of been enough, her heart was in the right place...I believe she should get her job back.”
From its Ohio headquarters, First Student spokesperson Jen Biddinger said it is against company policy to discuss personnel matters. Biddinger also said the company takes safety, "very seriously, and our practices are designed to uphold this most important value."
But one Calgary employment law firm said that if Lindon was never made aware of the company policy prohibiting her actions, then there are no legal grounds to fire her for violating it.
"It's not only a bad practice, but it seems in this case you have a situation where you have someone who's trying to be a Good Samaritan and keep these kids warm and safe who's now been penalized," lawyer Jeff Kahane said.
For her part, Lindon said that she was acting more like a concerned parent than a bus driver at the time.
Kahane said that this also raises questions about whether her termination was appropriate.
"There is an argument that she wasn't even acting in the course of her employment, but the question is: What are the details of that contract?" he said.
Lindon said that if First Student asked her to return to work she'd happily oblige.
"If they phoned me and said 'We would love to have you back, please come drive for us again?,' Yes, I'd be all over it," she said.
With a report from CTV Calgary's Lea Williams-Doherty