(November 1999, Singapore) A bus full of excited children can drive anyone to the brink of madness. Perhaps the actions of one bus driver can be explained by his proximity to a herd of shrieking kids.
Xu, 41, was one of 13 tour drivers hired to escort a school tour through the Shanghai World Animals Park. His bus unexpectedly broke down as the convoy passed through a fenced tiger enclosure. You can imagine the hubbub this would cause among a group of students on a wild animal adventure. Needless to say, the park rules clearly forbid leaving the safety of the vehicle.
I can imagine a circumstance in which such a breakdown would be cause to panic. For instance, if you sneak into the park just before it closes in a convertible with a flimsy cloth covering, and you are accompanied by a date who is chomping rare steak, then waiting in the vehicle for rescue from the tigers would not be an attractive option. But a bus that is part of a convoy of school children is not in imminent danger of being abandoned to the tigers. Xu must have realized that help would come swiftly.
But instead of waiting inside, besieged by a clamor of children, he climbed out of the bus and began to re-attach the tow rope. A park manager witnessed the deadly incident. The children watched in horror while tigers savagely attacked their driver. Their screams summoned a nearby trainer, who drove the tigers from their victim, but it was too late to save Xu from the deadly effects of bites to his neck.
As a consolation prize, his death provided a memorable example to the children of the danger of stupidity in action.
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Submitted by: Irving Fang
Reference: Singapore Straits Times