Sunday, March 13, 2011

BUS STORY # 227 (Pete’s NYC Bus Story)

New York City Transit Authority 1962 GM New Look Bus #2151, originally uploaded by Ottawa Bus Gallery.

You’re from New York City where they don’t say no prayers
Anything goes and no one really cares

-- Don Henley, from “You Better Hang Up.”

I recently reconnected with a grade school classmate I hadn’t seen or heard from in 50 years.  When we found out we were next door neighbors (so to speak: he lives in Phoenix), I started making plans for a weekend reunion.

We met in downtown Phoenix, a place more reminiscent of LA in the ‘50s than the Disneyland Scottsdale area I’m familiar with from a recent business trip. Pete had picked Macayo’s, an old and venerable Mexican restaurant which turned out to be right on the light rail line.

Pete and I had come to Dallas in the fourth grade, although neither of us knew that until that first night in Phoenix. I’d left Dallas after grade school, but Pete finished high school there before going to Arizona State for college.

His mother and father divorced while he was in high school, and his father moved to New York. Pete spent a summer up there working as a temp at his father’s place of business. He took the bus to and from work, and he told me a bus story about a young Dallas boy’s encounter with New York City ways.

He says he was sitting in a crowded bus when an old woman burdened with grocery bags came on board. Pete did what any Texas gentleman would have done back in the day: he stood up and offered her his seat.

As soon as he stood up, a man standing in the aisle behind him slipped into his seat. Pete was shocked, then recovered and explained he was giving up his seat for the old woman, not for him.

The guy ignored him.

Pete explained again the seat was meant for the old woman, and asked him to stand back up.

He told Pete what he could do with himself.

Pete said at this point he was aware that everyone else in the immediate area, including the old woman, was looking at him as if he were from another planet. He was also aware that he was angry, and he explained to the man he’d intended to give his seat to the old woman, and if the man didn’t vacate the seat of his own free will, Pete would do it for him.

The man started cussing him out roundly, but he got up. The woman, still looking stunned, and perhaps thinking she’d better do as the crazy kid said, took the seat.

When he told his father what had happened, his father explained that Pete wasn't in Texas anymore. But, he added, Pete had done the polite thing, just as he’d been raised to do, and his father was proud of him.

I’m happy to say -- and my wife agrees -- that Pete is still the kind of guy who'd notice, then offer his seat. We’re already planning an Albuquerque visit for Pete which will include taking the Rail Runner to Santa Fe for a get-together with yet another grade school classmate. I just hope it won’t be standing room only.

The photo at the top of this story is titled “New York City Transit Authority 1962 GM New Look Bus #2151” and is posted with the kind permission of Ottawa Bus Gallery. You can see this and all Ottawa Bus Gallery’s photos on Flickr at:


Blogger refugee from reason said...

I just thought I'd let you know that I enjoy your venue tremendously. It's unique and wonderfully presented and written. I should also point out that I'm a major fan of public transportation, almost believing that private cars should be banned. Thanks for your work.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Thank you for those very kind words, refugee from reason.

As for banning cars, I suspect the American public would react much like the pro-gun folks: "They can take my car when they pry my cold, dead fingers off the steering wheel."

8:03 PM  
Blogger refugee from reason said...

I'm modestly tilted...and I rode the bus in this photo when it was the original. Keep 'em coming and the stories.

9:04 PM  

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