Seven-year-old Draden Walstrum wrote a note to his parents as he sat alone on his school bus for more than five hours Monday.
"You are probably sad," he wrote. "I was on the bus all day long with nobody."
Draden had fallen asleep on the ride to Conewago Elementary School. His bus driver, according to Northeastern School District officials, failed to do a mandatory check for students and returned the bus to its parking space in Manchester.
"I ended up waking up on the bus and no one was on," Draden told abc27 News.
The first grader said he was scared, hot and thirsty before his bus driver found him as she began her afternoon shift. He wrote in his note that he tried calling for help, but a two-way radio on the bus didn't work.
When news reached his parents, they were horrified about their son's ordeal.
"We were devastated. We didn't know what was going on, what was wrong," Draden's father, Ronnie Walstrum said. "We are the type of parents to protect our child, and we had no way of protecting our child because nobody notified us."
The district's bus contractor, F&S Transportation, said the driver was "immediately terminated." Police are investigating, and the school district is reviewing procedures.
Draden's father said the district should be held accountable.
"I think they should have a policy where they contact you, tell you that your kid is not in school," he said. "There is no policy for the younger kids."
In the meantime, Draden is excited that he will begin his summer vacation this week, especially because he will have a break from the bus.
"I don't want to be left alone on the bus again," he said.