Long charm OF THE LAW
With the police on her drive, Anna’s boy’s birthday didn’t go as planned!
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.
‘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