When a bus scheduled to take more than 40 Lynbrook High School prom-goers to the North Ritz Club in Syosset never came on June 22, one father saved the day.
“I felt so sad for them,” said Michael DiGiorgio. “I felt bad for the kid that made the reservation, too, because it wasn’t his fault, you know?”
There was a miscommunication among the driver, the students and Mondrion Limousine, the Rego Park, Queens-based company that provided the bus, according to DiGiorgio’s daughter, Jillian. The prom-goers saw the bus heading the wrong way on an app that allowed them to track it on their phones. “[The bus driver] just stopped coming,” Jillian said. “It was bizarre.”
The seniors and their dates waited about half an hour after the annual pre-prom parade on Atlantic Avenue while their parents looked for a solution. That was when parent Karen Tuzzio reminded DiGiorgio that the Lynbrook Fire Department had its own bus for parades and for Junior Fire Department members.
DiGiorgio, a volunteer for the Tally-Ho Chemical Engine Company, called Second Assistant Chief Nicholas Pearsall to ask if he could use the bus to take the students to their prom. Eventually, Chief Carl Lengel, gave his OK. “I must say Lynbrook seniors can really go with the flow,” said Doris DiGiorgio, Michael’s mother. “They never stopped smiling at the prospect.”
“[Michael] had to go pick it up at headquarters, which took a while,” said Jillian, adding that she was “really relieved once we got something to take us.”
Once the seniors were on the bus, they kept asking Michael how long the ride would take and “made the best of it with no music,” Michael recalled. When they got to the North Ritz Club on time, at 7 p.m., each student gave Michael a high-five.
The group expected the party bus to bring them home afterward. “The bus company told them to tell me to just go home,” Michael recounted.
But he didn’t listen. Instead, he waited outside with the other bus and limo drivers for four hours. “My dad wanted to stay so that we wouldn’t be stranded,” Jillian said.
Michael said he didn’t mind hanging around. He chatted with the other drivers, and caught glimpses of goings-on inside. “It was awesome to watch,” he said.
The party bus still wasn’t there when the students left the catering hall at 11 p.m. so they boarded the Fire Department’s bus again. “They jumped onto the bus like they were on the best bus in the lot,” Michael said.
Representatives of the bus company have told the students that they would be reimbursed.
For his dedication, other parents and students recognized DiGiorgio at the Lynbrook graduation ceremony on June 23. “As Michael crossed the bleacher seats to get a seat, a group of senior parents in the know gave him a shout-out and applause,” Doris said. “They made his day.”