Amal Hanna has been a bus driver in Long Island, New York for 15 years, and now, she’s been fired for drinking a White Claw while driving the bus, according to News 12 Long Island.
However, there’s one issue here.
The 60-year-old is currently battling cancer, and the chemotherapy and doesn’t drink alcohol at all anymore. Chemotherapy drugs are metabolized in the liver and drinking alcohol would just compound the beating her body is already taking. Not to mention, the treatment has also affected her ability to taste so she was unaware that there was any alcohol in the drink. Hanna said she grabbed her roommate’s White Claw from the refrigerator, without knowing what a White Claw is, thinking it was just a normal energy drink.
So, she cracked it open and drank it while taking kids home from Smithtown High School West last Wednesday.
Hanna sobbed in the interview, saying:
“It was just a mistake, it was a mistake.”
She also said that she could end up going homeless trying to afford chemo treatments without a job.
“For people like me that don’t drink — how are they going to know this is alcohol? I have been crying and crying, I don’t even have any more tears.”
She added that the alcohol warning was in such small print as well, and luckily, and perhaps compassionately, the police believe her story, and the charges were dropped. However, the school district doesn’t appear to care, as they fired her.
Hanna discussed how much she loved her job as well:
“I love the kids, I love my company. I go in the morning, so happy, see the kids, say ‘Good morning, how are you,’ give them a big smile.”
She also discussed how happy it makes her to see the kids go into school happy.
A parent also vouched for Hanna, saying she was “so sweet,” and is always kind:
“I can’t imagine she would ever do anything to harm them. I think it was a very honest mistake.”
Smithtown Central School District Superintendent Mark Secaur announced last week that Hanna was immediately removed from the bus, and a different driver took her place. Hanna was also fired from WE Transport Inc., the school bus company she was employed through.
They said in a statement:
“This alleged conduct is completely unacceptable and the driver has been immediately removed from service.”
Smithtown school district officials also shared in a statement:
“Our students’ safety is of the utmost importance to the Smithtown Central School District and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to create a safe environment for all our students.”
They also said they have zero tolerance for behavior like Hanna’s, and you could totally understand why, but is there any room for grace in this situation? When you don’t know what a White Claw is and see “lemonade” or another flavor on the front, it seems pretty plausible to be a very honest mistake.
Can’t we ask the parents… call the parents up on that bus route, explain the situation and let them make the call… seem fair, right?
I really hope somebody can help Hanna out, your heart has to break for her.