Like too many Boston parents, I was surprised this morning when there weren't any school buses on the streets.

And then i got angry.

Because whatever the drivers think they're not getting that they "deserve," none of it is as important as what thousands of Boston students lost: a day of education, that will never be made up.

The drivers took their best shot this morning: an unannounced strike that paralyzed the schools.

And why?

Because the drivers don't like their working conditions.

But notice–they don't dislike them enough to quit their jobs…and I assume an offer of fewer rules and more money would have them driving again very quickly.

But there's another way.

Do you remember PATCO?

No, not the Alamo. PATCO!

In 1981, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization

went on strike, which–like the Boston bus drivers action today–was illegal.

President Ronald Reagan gave the controllers 48 hours to return to work. About 1,300 showed up…and the 11,000 who didn't were fired. Air traffic was cut in half, but planes flew, and, over time, the strikers were replaced.

Now, in Boston, it's buses, not planes…and drivers, not air traffic controllers.

But, otherwise, what's the difference?

A group of employees decided it's not being treated fairly, and its reaction is a strike that shows contempt and disdain for the people the workers are supposed to serve.

The drivers don't deserve our sympathy, because they had none for us.

So, Mayor Menino, here's a chance to put an exclamation point on your legacy.

Give the drivers two days to return to work.

And those who don't show up don't ever have to drive a Boston school bus again, under any conditions.

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