WWYD – car pool issue

This happened a while back, but it still rankles.

I carpool for each of the boys on Sundays. One of the carpools has a child in it who lives quite far from everyone else, and while everyone in the carpool agreed to let them join, it does add a lot of time to the route.

This particular Sunday that child did not come to school. His parents called me Saturday night and let me know not to shlepp out there to pick him up. I appreciated the extra 15 minutes in bed.

When I went to do carpool at the end of the school day, the boys piled into the car along with a child I didn’t recognize. The child tells me he is going to FarOffKid’s house, and they told him to catch a ride with the carpool. Now, if FarOffKid had been in the car, it would have been no issue. The parents told me nothing, didn’t ask me, didn’t inform me and they also didn’t answer their phone when I called to ask them if this kid was coming to them.

Now, I couldn’t leave the kid at school, could I? But I had borrowed a car, as I had no access that day to our van, and I didn’t think I would have room for an extra kid. Luckily one of the other kids had gone home early so I ended up having space. But what if I hadn’t have had space? What if the other kid hadn’t gone home early AND FarOffKid was in the car? What then? I don’t believe in doubling kids up in one buckle. Not safe.

I drove the boy to his friend’s house, grudgingly I will admit, but I was steamed all the way home. How hard would it have been for the parents to ask me? I mean, they made the effort to call me the night before, right? If my kids have a friend coming in the car pool I call the driver first to ask if they have room, if not I make other arrangements. Why can other people not share the same courtesy?

I didn’t call them nor speak to them afterwards, but I feel I should have let them know my thoughts, but at the time I was way too peeved.

What would you have done?

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  1. shorty says:

    does the group email each other? perhaps a group email saying to ask when an extra kid is being coming home with one of the group kids, that there isn’t always room in the car for X+1 child. a little less confrontational and this way everyone knows not to do it.

  2. batya from NJ says:

    I agree that it would have been best for FarOffKid’s parents to have asked you if it was ok to take their kid’s friend to their house. However, they most likely figured that you had the room in your car especially since you weren’t taking their child home that day & since you generally have room for their child, you most likely would have room to take their child’s friend instead…It’s possible that they totally forgot about the kid coming to their house when they spoke with you the previous night but it would have been best if they would have called you just to double check that you would be able to take their kid’s friend over to their house once they actually did remember that he was coming over. At this point though it probably doesn’t pay to bring it up b/c it is after the fact. I might have brought it up with them later that day in a polite way but it’s already nearly the end of the school year, so I’d probably let it ride (no pun intended ;)!

  3. liza says:

    agree with shorty and mark,
    you can address the more important issue of the future,
    by sending a totally non-confrontational email about future issues of
    extra kids (ask permission, make sure carpooling parent has room and belts enough for all, etc) , and you can make this an explicit part of the initial rules
    for next year’s carpool.
    love your blog

  4. lady lock and load says:

    It is written there are three ways you can know a person, b’kisso, b’kosso, b’kaaso (with his money, with his cup (drinking) and when he is angry. I say it different…b’kisso, b’kosso, and b’carpool. I am so glad we don’t have to carpool anymore!!!

  5. batya from NJ says:

    Good one LLL :)!!!

  6. I agree that it would be good etiquette to inform you beforehand, and that it must have been very frustrating to shlep all the way out there.

    However, it occurred to me that it’s also a possibility that the kid made up or confused the instructions. Kids do that sometimes, right? If the parents were considerate enough to call you last night, I would assume that they also had a valid reason for not telling you. And even if they just plain forgot, sometimes that happens, and it’s not like they were sitting in their house, laughing maniacally that you were driving all the way to they house.

    At least I hope they weren’t…

  7. Mike S. says:

    You are also right, however, to wait until you are not peeved and can calmly point out the practical issues–like the fact that you took a smaller car and only had a seat for this boy because some other boy left early. I am sure this wasn’t some deliberate plot to take unfair advantage of you. Also quite possible that the youngsters made this arrangement without telling the parents (you didn’t say which age kid this was.)

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