Sunday, November 30, 2008


BUS STORY # 109 (That Poor Child!)


We're on the way to Central, and we're better than half full. We stop just past Santa Clara, at the southwest corner of the Fairview Cemetery, and pick up several more passengers. One of them is a tall woman with long black hair. She's wearing sunglasses, a faded red T-shirt and worn blue jeans, and she's carrying a kid.

The kid looks to be maybe a year old. She's holding him like a sack of groceries, arms wrapped around him just under the armpits, her belly to his back. She sits near the front, still maintaining the same hold. The kid seems OK. He's pretty placid, in fact.

I'm distracted by a commotion from the front of the bus. Another woman, also with long black hair, also in sunglasses, T-shirt and jeans, is arguing with the driver. She walks over to the woman holding the child and asks her to check for the transfer again. Ah, so they're together.

The woman sitting doesn't respond. She looks up at the second woman, and that's it. The second woman turns and tells the driver in a loud voice, "This one will have to do." She's waving a transfer in front of her.

"That transfer expired two hours ago. You're going to have to get off the bus."

"We're not getting off the bus. We need to go to Central."

"You're going to have to get off the bus, or I'm going to have to call security."

"Well, O high and mighty one," yells the woman as she makes a sweeping and artless curtsy, "you just call your security because we aren't getting off the bus."

If it wasn't clear before, it is now: the woman is intoxicated. She goes over and sits down next to the woman with the child.

The driver gets on the phone and calls it in. We can all hear her voice. "I've got a couple of folks who don't have valid transfers refusing to leave the bus." She is remarkably calm.

We sit and wait. Suddenly, the woman gets up and says to her friend, "Come on, get up. She's called the cops."

Her friend looks at her but doesn't move. The kid is as passive as can be.

"Come on, we don't need to go to jail. Let's get out of here."

She takes the kid and stands him up in front of her. I'm stunned to realize her friend is a male, not a female.

"C'mon, get up!"

She grabs his sleeve. He gets up unsteadily. They move toward the front door which is wide open.

"We're getting off your _______ bus, you _______ _____!"

The woman curses the driver relentlessly as the three of them exit the bus and stand out on the sidewalk. The driver waits till they're all outside, closes the door, radios in that the problem is resolved. As she is pulling back into the traffic, she exclaims, "Oh, my goodness!"

She stops at the next stop and radios back in. We can hear her voice sounding more urgent now. She's telling the dispatcher the folks who got off the bus are fighting, and they have a child. She tells them to call the police. "That poor child," she says.

When we get to Central, a couple of riders make a point of telling her how well she handled the situation. She thanks them, then says again, "That poor child."

1 Comments:

Blogger abqdave said...

I think the recent transfer policy restrictions have reduced the amount of problems some people cause. As you probably know, starting in February transfers will be gone entirely.

In this case, with no fake transfer to wave, I think these people wouldn't even try to scam their way on the bus.

There should also be less of 'do you have a quarter' begs I receive now (for the transfer)...who would have enough nerve to ask for a dollar (I doubt they would find many givers even if they asked).

So...maybe no free or reduced cost transfers will encourage more responsible behavior?

I hope so.

9:29 PM  

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