HomeNewsDuring Bus Driver Shortage, Colorado Student Kayaking to School

During Bus Driver Shortage, Colorado Student Kayaking to School

by Evan Reier
Photo by Mark Leffingwell/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images)

Worker shortages are affecting all aspects of our lives right now, even in terms of school transportation. This has led to one student to start kayaking.

And no, this isn’t a college student who’s skipping the shuttle. Meet Josh Smith, a seventh-grade student at Summit Middle School in Frisco, California.

In a feature from 9News, Smith opens up about his workaround of a nation-wide issue. His local school district has had to implement waitlists due to a lack of drivers. It became such a problem he had to start questioning if he should even try to get a ride.

“When I began school, it was kinda hard every day,” Smith said. “I’d have to text or call my mom and say like, ‘Should I ride the bus today? Will they allow me to ride the bus?”

Not knowing if you have a ride to or from school is a pretty big conundrum. However, Smith didn’t have to think hard or look far to find his solution.

“One night around dinner, Josh just said ‘Hey dad would you mind if I kayaked to school?'” Jason Smith, Josh’s father, said. “Some kids if they say that, you just kind of laugh it off and say yeah, sure, no problem. But, if I knew if he asked it, he was probably planning on doing it and I needed to be careful in my response.”

So, when weather and water conditions permit, Smith hops in his kayak and gets on the way to school.

How Colorado Student’s Kayaking is Going

For one, Smith has to get up fairly early to make this happen. As in, before the crack of dawn. And as any parent can relate to, the first time he started paddling was easiest the scariest.

“I can remember finally pushing him off into the reservoir thinking what have I just done?” Jason Smith said.

It’s about two miles of kayaking for Smith to make it to school. His strategy?

“Just throw my bag in the front, hope I don’t capsize and get to school,” Smith said.

Of course, this is a dangerous endeavor. Even veteran kayakers make mistakes, and that means that Smith’s father keeps a close eye on him.

“I try and follow him just because you know, part of my job as dad is to protect him and keep him from doing stupid stuff or getting in trouble,” his father added.

In that same vein, the father also talks about why he doesn’t just drive him to school all the time. For Jason Smith, it’s all about seeing his son branch out, kayaking or otherwise.

“When my now 13-year-old boy approaches me and wants to do something out of his comfort zone, wants to stretch himself a little bit, wants to do something different, something unique that’s a challenge, I’ve got to back that up.”