For a family in the Middle Village section of Queens that had to ferry kids to and from school for weeks during the school bus strike, the sight of a yellow bus was a big relief Wednesday. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
On a frigid Wednesday morning in the Middle Village section of Queens, Sal Giacomazza took his 7-year-old son Justin down the block to the school bus stop on Metropolitan Avenue. It was something he hadn't done in more than a month.
"It's been pretty rough, getting up, getting these kids in the car," Sal Giacomazza said.
During the school bus strike, Giacomazza had been pitching in, driving up to six neighborhood children nearly a mile each day to P.S. 153. Other neighbors and his wife would get the children back home.
With the strike over, his hope Wednesday was the bus would arrive on time at 7:45 a.m., but he still had a back-up plan.
"What I'll probably do is I'll just pull my car up, and I'll wait till about 8 o'clock, 8:05, and if the bus don't show, the kids have to be in school by 8:20. I'll put the five, six kids in my car and take them off to school," Giacomazza said.
But the big yellow school bus was right on time. Giacomazza got on the bus to greet driver Joshua Thibodeau and was thoroughly pleased that he was getting a break from his driving duties.
"Oh this is great, I can go back inside, have a cup of coffee, maybe take a little nap because I do get home late at night," Giacomazza said.
At P.S. 153, as the bus let the children out and they headed into school, Thibodeau told NY1 he was happy to be back behind the wheel.
"Yes, I'm so glad," Thibodeau said.
Giacomazza said despite the inconvenience, he has supported the drivers. But he hoped a similar strike can be avoided anytime in the near future.
"I just hope it stays like this. I mentioned to the bus driver today, 'I spoke highly of you guys, I'm glad you're on time,'" he said.
Giacomazza admitted it was a big responsibility driving all of the children to school and the strike lasted longer than he expected. But they managed, and he said for now he is at ease.