MOBIlE, Ala. (WPMI) Since the beginning of this long hostage standoff, many of us have wondered... what if? What if that child had been mine? What if the bus driver has been my father, my grandfather. What if that lone gunman had boarded my child's bus?
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has played out those same questions in his own mind.
On Friday, Governor Bentley revealed to the media has has spoken to the anxious mother of the 5-year-old being held in that bunker in Midland City.
But what could he say, what did he say to bring her a measure of comfort? He answered as best he could Friday morning, at a gathering of auto industry executives in Mobile.
"She was very distraught," said the governor of the worried mom. "As a parent, and I'm sure, as many of you are, what can you say?" he said, "Except to cry with them, you know. It's difficult."
The governor also said he's been trying to reach the family of the slain bus driver but, so far, has been unsuccessful.
"I am so proud of him," said Bentley. "He did his job. He protected those children. He stood in their place and when the demand came to take two children, he said no. He lost his life because of that. So they need to be proud of him. He did his job. I'm proud of him as a governor, but I'm also proud of him as a human being."
A governor possess the power to affect the lives of those he represents. But not in this case.
So he is using the only power of difference still at his disposal. The power to comfort and console those who wait and watch and mourn.
Bus driver Charles Albert Poland, Jr. was 66-years-old.