Sunday, November 29, 2009

BUS STORY # 161 (Which Reminds Me)

Two weeks ago, I posted a bus story about a rider giving a driver a tip for helping another rider with her luggage. Posting it reminded me of a time when I, too, tipped a bus driver.

I don’t remember how long ago. It could have been six months, it could have been two years. At the time, it didn’t seem like bus story material, and it wasn’t until I posted the November 15th story that I even recalled the incident.

I was on my way downtown from the office. I had my backpack, and also a bag with a projector I’d borrowed from the department secretary so I could make a Powerpoint presentation from my laptop.

I put the bag down on one side of me and my backpack on the other side, and began reading while waiting for the bus.

I was engrossed in my reading when the bus surprised me at the stop. I hurriedly stuck the magazine in my pack and swung it up and on board with me.

The driver asked me if that was my bag back there on the sidewalk.

D’oh! I quickly fetched the projector case, and thanked her profusely when I reboarded.

As we headed toward my next stop, I imagined arriving at my meeting without the projector and having my presentation hosed. Then I thought about having to explain to the department secretary, and then my boss, how I left the projector sitting on the sidewalk.

I decided I should do something above and beyond another thank you at the exit.

I remember looking in my wallet to see what I had on hand, then wondering what a reasonable tip for what had happened might be. I settled on a five dollar bill. That seemed large enough to signify how grateful I was, and also large enough to be useful in terms of, say, buying a good part of lunch on her break.

When we came to my stop, I went to the front and told her it really meant a lot to me that she had saved me from leaving the projector back there on the sidewalk. But when I tried to hand her the bill, she waved her hand “no” and said it was just part of her job.

I told her I wished she would take it because she had saved me an awful lot of grief. I suggested it would buy her lunch when she took her break.

She still refused to take it, saying she was just glad I hadn’t lost anything.

Finally, I told if she took the bill, I’d get to take her to lunch and she’d get to have me take her to lunch without having to actually go to lunch with me. I explained it was a win-win situation.

That made her laugh, and she finally said OK. I recall some still-lingering reluctance as she took the proffered bill.

And now that I’m remembering it, I’m wondering if five was really enough.

The photo at the top of this story is titled Abandoned Case and is posted with the kind permission of Gwynhafyr. You can see this and all Gwynhafyr’s photos on Flickr at:


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