Sunday, October 05, 2008


BUS STORY # 102 (Ambush At Skateboard Park II)


We’re flat out moving up Lomas toward home on one of the new 700 series buses when CRACK! Something hits the side of the bus. I can feel the impact.

We’re passing right by Skateboard Park, and I know immediately someone has pegged us with a rock like they did at this same spot around this same time last year. The big difference is, the rock didn’t hit a window.

The driver pulls over quickly, then is out of the bus like a shot, cell phone in hand. He’s a young guy, stocky and solid, with black-framed glasses and shorts revealing tattoos on both muscular calves. We don’t see him for quite a while.

One of the riders finally disembarks, lights a cigarette, then walks back down the sidewalk where our driver had gone. When he returns, he boards the bus and tells us the driver saw who threw the rock, and he’s called it in and is keeping an eye on the guy. Apparently, the guy hasn’t taken off. He also tells us the driver is really pissed.

There is some division of opinion about what we are doing. One group is happy our driver is making sure the perp isn’t gonna get away with it. The other is unhappy our driver isn't getting them to where they want to be on time.

Eventually, the driver comes back to our bus and tells us we should exit and walk up to the next stop to wait for the next bus. We do. Most of us know the next bus will be here before the cops arrive.

No sooner do we get to the stop than a car pulls in front of the bus. A civilian with a clipboard gets out and walks over to the driver. Bus supervisor, we all know.

We are too far away to hear anything, but we can tell from the animated arm gestures of the driver that he isn’t too happy about whatever he’s hearing.

Pretty soon, the driver walks over to us and tells us we can reboard our bus. He’s gonna drop us at our stops, and those will be the only stops he makes.

It’s pretty easy to figure out what happened. The Schedule card has trumped the Law & Order card. I’m wondering if it would have been different if the bus had been damaged.

We are boarding our bus when we see the next bus coming up Lomas behind us. But our driver soon leaves it way behind. He stops only when a rider pulls the cord. We watch stop after stop of open-mouthed would-be riders as we sail right past them as if they didn’t exist.

4 Comments:

Blogger JM said...

How do you think the situation should have been handled? Do you agree with the bus driver or the supervisor? Or with the skateboard punk?

7:14 PM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Good question.

I liked the bus driver’s willingness to get involved when he saw something that wasn’t right. I think a lot of folks would have let it go. Too much trouble, too much fear of retaliation, too much of a downer when nothing really happens or really changes even when a kid is caught.

I understand the supervisor’s commitment to ABQ RIDE’s primary obligation to get folks where they need to be on time – something they have made a concerted effort at improving on this past year. As I said, no apparent damage had been done to the bus, and the super may have made a different decision if, say, a window had been hit and shattered.

I don’t know if the rock thrower was also a skateboarder. I do know I didn’t have the opportunity to hear his side of the story.

How about you?

8:24 PM  
Blogger abqdave said...

This (rock throwing) has happened once on a bus I have been on going, and I have heard from bus drivers that it has happened a few times.

I agree it cannot be ignored. I think there should be group punishment... someone throws a rock, park is closed for 2 days. The police should put a big sign on the locked gate stating that is why it is closed, and closure will happen everytime a rock is thrown. That will stop that, without the bus schedules being thrown off.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Busboy said...

There’s some old school yard experience that tells me this solution won’t necessarily work. It’s not uncommon that troublemakers are also bullies, and nobody messes with the bullies. If the bullies feel like throwing a rock and it closes the park, that actually magnifies their impact which, in turn, encourages more of the same. The only things the innocent kids get out of it are the arguably valuable life lessons that life isn’t fair, and that the bad guys usually get away with it.

I showed your comment and my response to my wife. She thought your idea was a good one, and she suggested if I was going to differ, I should have a proposal of my own. Since I don’t have any good ideas, I’ll defer to my wife’s final suggestion that it wouldn’t hurt to try yours.

8:38 PM  

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