A four-year-old boy was left wandering the streets when he was left behind on a school bus by himself.
John Robertson, who was in his first week of using the bus, was due to be dropped off at his house on the Black Isle, north of Inverness, but the driver missed his stop and drove to the D&E Coaches depot.
The primary school pupil cried for help but when there was no response, after around an hour, he tried to walk to his home which was two miles away.
Thankfully he was found by two women who raised the alarm.
His father John Robertson Snr told how he and his wife were "absolutely petrified" and called the bus company to see if the bad weather had caused a delay.
Speaking to STV News, he added: "They said John had been dropped off at the house but this wasn't the case because I was looking out the window waiting for him. They then claimed he never got on the bus.
"Nobody had heard or seen him so we phoned 999. The police said two members of the public had found him and were on their way to the station with him.
"It turned out he was put on the right bus but the driver didn't drop him off. He was left at the depot but I do not know how the driver never noticed him."
Mr Robertson added: "We are furious at what has happened. Since the incident, he has been waking up in the middle of the night crying not wanting to be alone. It is horrible."
A D&E Coaches spokesman apologised "sincerely" for the incident.
He said: "We are extremely disappointed at the circumstances in which a child was left on one of our minibuses going from Munlochy Primary School to North Kessock last Friday when it was parked in a yard in Inverness.
"A full internal investigation has been conducted and the driver concerned has been dismissed for gross misconduct.
"Relying on an assurance from another pupil that this child was not on the bus is unacceptable. All drivers are expected to check their buses at the end of the journey but this clearly did not occur in this instance."
A Highland Council spokeswoman said: "We are extremely concerned about this incident and we are carrying out a full investigation into the circumstances with our contracted school transport provider.
"The incident is also the subject of an ongoing police investigation."