A 79-year-old bus driver lost his job this week after 50 years of driving because he unwittingly trapped a 5-year-old girl on his bus after she fell asleep on her journey home.
The girl was found by a search party hours later, reportedly "petrified and crying".
Today the driver has been offered a new job, following public outcry over his "uncalled for sacking," which included the likes of 5-year-old Alyssa's father who told 9NEWS the driver should not have been publicly shamed the way he had been.
When little Alyssa New failed to return home after school on January 22, her mother, Bobbie Langdon, frantically called the police.
The authorities were alerted to the incident at 3.15pm and Alyssa was found at roughly 7.30pm that evening at the Logan Village Bus Depot by other drivers who heard her crying and banging on the bus windows.
Which has left people asking, how could something like this happen?
Bus driver, Ross Belsham wants the public to know the incident was not entirely his fault and told Nine News he believed many people were at fault in the situation.
This includes missing "bus monitors" at the school (teachers supervising after school transport) and no one waiting for Alyssa at her bus stop, the latter claim is one which Bobbie Langdon, despite multiple sources allegedly agreeing with Belsham, vehemently denies.
"'If she was I would've stopped. I would've wondered what she was doing there and thought where's Alyssa and naturally stopped. That would've been the end of that," Belsham told Nine News.
"I've lost my job, and I don't think I've had a fair run. That's the end of my life unless somebody out there wants to give me a job," he continued.
The driver also maintains last checks on the bus were done correctly, yet somehow Alyssa was overlooked while four other unaccompanied children were collected before the bus was driven into the depot.
"They should have a routine that the buses are checked once they are parked at the depot," Ms Langdon, Alyssa's mother told Seven news.
Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk also blamed the bus companies in a statement to reporters.
"It appears that the driver did not do the end of run sweep as drivers are supposed to with those bus companies," The Premier said.
"It's a timely reminder for the bus companies to ensure that that is done."
'I did sweep the bus. It's not that I didn't do, I didn't go back because I'd already done it,' Mr Belsham countered claims he did not do his job properly.
CavBus general manager Peter Bowerman called Belsham's actions "completely unacceptable", in his termination letter.
"The incident is indefensible and no parent should have to experience this avoidable trauma and stress," it says.
While Belsham believes a suspension was fair, he is outraged action had been taken as far as termination.
Belsham has since been offered a new job as a driver with another chartering company.
- PuzzlesThe Australian Women's Weekly July Issue Online Entry
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