On the first day of school Tuesday, one Berks County boy left his home and boarded the bus, but never made it to his kindergarten classroom.
Prince Oquendo, a student at the Monocacy Elementary Center in Amity Township located about 12 miles outside Reading, was instead found four hours later, still on the bus — and a little hungry.
Prince's bus driver failed to follow protocol by checking the bus before leaving the vehicle in the transportation company lot, according to 6ABC. The driver has since been terminated.
Prince's mom Michelle Oquendo said her son was crying.
"When the door shut, [Prince] started to hit the doors, and yell for the guy to pay attention to him. And the guy just kept on walking. He started crying, and basically spent his time crying on the bus," she said.
In fact, nobody even knew Prince was trapped on the school bus until his mother called the school at noon when the bus didn't drop him off after the half-day. Staff at New Rhoads Transportation then checked the bus, which had been sitting in the sun all morning on an 85-degree day, CBS Philly reported.
Daniel Boone Area School District Superintendent James Harris told CBS Philly that drivers "generally" look for students' backpacks and water bottles, but Prince's driver "didn't do that."
Harris said that the district also failed by not calling Oquendo when Prince was marked as absent for the day.
"It just goes to show how important our procedures are," Harris told CBS Philly. "We don’t need to be doing anything new. We just need to do what we are supposed to be doing."