Long charm OF THE LAW

With the po­lice on her drive, Anna’s boy’s birth­day didn’t go as planned!

Real People - - QUICK READS -

Ring­ing the bell, I stood up to get off at the next stop.

More, more, ges­tured my five-year-old son, Alexan­der, mak­ing a fist with one hand and plac­ing his other palm on top.

Alexan­der didn’t speak so it was his way of say­ing he didn’t want to get off the bus!

A trait of his autism, it was more an ob­ses­sion than a whim.

While most kids wanted to play in the park, my boy would hap­pily ride the num­ber four all day.

So, for his fifth birth­day in Oc­to­ber last year, I googled

party buses. Up popped a dou­ble-decker, trans­formed into a soft play haven.

At £325 for two hours, it was pricey, but I knew Alexan­der would love it.

Soon, kids were zooming down slides and crawl­ing through tun­nels on the bus, all with­out leav­ing my drive­way.

Alexan­der was so sad to see it go, he chased it down the road!

So for his sixth birth­day this year, I knew I had to bring the bus back.

At 11am, chil­dren started turn­ing up for the party. But there was no sign of the bus.

‘We’re wait­ing for it to ar­rive…’ I awk­wardly told par­ents, check­ing my watch every five min­utes.

By 11.30am, I’d called four dif­fer­ent num­bers.

No an­swer.

‘The party is a dis­as­ter,’ I cried to my hus­band, Justin, 44.

I had no Plan B!

‘You sort out the food, we’ll get party games,’ said my friends, Stephanie, 31, Reema, 41, and Lucy, 30. They came back from Tesco with a piñata, sweets and toys for pass the par­cel, bless ’em! But it wasn’t what I’d imag­ined. ‘Don’t let any­one leave,’ said Stephanie. ‘Some­thing is com­ing.’ But she didn’t say any­thing more.

I went up­stairs to look for Alexan­der, who’d gone for a lie down. But then some­one shouted, ‘There’s a riot van in your drive!’

Eh? I grabbed Alexan­der and took him down­stairs.

Out­side my house was a po­lice van with two uni­formed of­fi­cers!

Turns out Stephanie had posted on Face­book, say­ing we’d been let down and asked if any­one had a bus we could bor­row!

The neigh­bour­hood polic­ing team had just started their shift when they saw the post.

Hav­ing an hour spare, they came to save the day.

My boy’s face lit up like it was Christ­mas morn­ing. This beat a bus any day!

‘Alexan­der, your turn first,’ called an of­fi­cer. He climbed into the driver’s seat, find­ing it hi­lar­i­ous fun to keep press­ing the siren!

Then all the kids piled in. The of­fi­cers in blue even joined us for some choco­late cake. Alexan­der was beam­ing.

As for the bus com­pany, they never an­swered our calls. Luck­ily, we hadn’t paid them.

Still, the day was a riot! Anna Ban­yard, 36, Warfield, Berk­shire

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