JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A school bus ride home from Oceanway Elementary School quickly turned into a scary situation for a 9-year-old girl and her mother.
It was 12:41 p.m. Monday when Brittany Campbell was waiting outside her apartment complex on the Northside, expecting to see her daughter any minute after the girl's first day of summer school.
“(The time) 12:44 p.m. came and the bus was not there,” Campbell said. “I kind of figured it would be late since it’s the first day of summer school.”
Campbell said it turned out that her daughter had been dropped off at the wrong bus stop, near Highlands Elementary School, which is 1.8 miles away from her assigned bus stop.
"She asked the bus driver, ‘Can you please take me to my house?'" Campbell said. "The bus driver told my daughter, 'I cannot take you home. Get off of the bus.'"
Fortunately, being familiar with the area, the girl was able to start walking home. But the girl said she was scared as she walked along the side of Interstate Center Drive
"I kept seeing cars driving by and I thought somebody was going to come and take me," the girl told News4Jax.
Fortunately, when the girl was about a quarter-mile into her walk home, a woman and her daughter saw the 9-year-old walking down the road and stopped to pick her up. The two were strangers to Campbell, but she later learned her daughter used to go to school with the woman's daughter.
“The young lady and her daughter poked their head out the window, from what my daughter told me, and picked her up. Thank God. That lady was an angel, really, because she shouldn’t have to bring my daughter home to me. If my daughter would have not made it home, I don’t know,” Campbell said. "I could have been having a really different conversation right now."
Campbell feels her daughter had a guardian angel watching over her Monday. If not, she said, the situation could have turned to tragedy.
“I could have lost my baby. She could’ve been hit by a car. She could’ve been picked up,” Campbell said.
That’s why Campbell said she felt the need to speak up, and not only for her daughter.
"I just don’t want this to happen to any other children," she said.
Campbell said she also wants the driver held accountable.
"You get paid to make sure that a child is dropped off at their exact location that their parents are expecting them to be," she said.
When asked for comment, First Student spokesperson Jay Brock sent News4Jax the following statement:
"With the start of summer school yesterday, new routines were created for parents, teachers, students, including our drivers. The driver is going to go through retraining of the route and stops. We are thankful that the student arrived home safely."
Duval County Public Schools had not responded to News4Jax's request for comment as of early Tuesday evening.