Sunday, December 10, 2006

BUS STORY # 14 (Bus Driver To The Rescue)

I was taking the Rapid Ride home from downtown. We were moving right along: UNM, The Frontier, Nob Hill, San Mateo. At Louisiana, another stop. I was reading at the time, but I registered the doors closing, the bus starting up, then stopping. Two sharp horn blasts made me look up from my reading.

"You need the bus?"

It was the driver calling out, looking through the reopened front doors. I looked over to where he was looking. A man and woman were standing well away from the bus stop and by the wall of the Ta Lin grocery store. It seemed obvious to me they weren’t waiting for the bus. The man, who was facing the woman, turned his head toward the driver. He had a blue baseball cap, strong cheekbones, the moustache of a pistolero. Late 30’s, I guessed, or maybe early 40’s. He stared at the driver a bit before nodding "no."

"You need the police?" the driver then called.

I looked at the woman. She was halfway facing the man, halfway the bus. Large, solid woman, probably the same age range. She might well have been pretty 20 years ago.

"I’ll take the bus," she said.

And she did. Walked right over to the front door, climbed aboard, and stood by the fare box. The man continued to stare, but I couldn’t tell if he was following the woman or still staring at the bus driver. It didn’t look exactly like anger, but more like a slow train coming. But I wouldn’t want to have tested that hypothesis at that particular moment.

The woman and the driver spoke. I couldn’t make out any words until I heard him ask, "Where are you going?" I couldn’t hear the answer, but I did see him tear off a transfer slip and hand it to her. No money had been exchanged. She got off at the next stop, Central and Wyoming – a mile from where she’d gotten on. She headed for the front door, and before exiting, she stopped and said "Thank you for - " but that’s all I heard.

"Watch out for those crazy guys," the driver called out after her, then pulled out and resumed his conversation with the guy in the seat across the aisle about various car accidents they’d known and loved, a conversation they’d already been in when I boarded the bus downtown.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home