Sunday, September 29, 2013

BUS STORY # 360 (Shorts 32: Thank You, Driver)


It is a crystal clear, unclouded blue sky, full sunshine morning. It is also 15 degrees with a wind chill factor of 4. When the 11 pulls up to the stop on the east side of Louisiana, I see the Rapid I plan to catch already past its stop and at the intersection. That means I will be waiting for the next bus, outdoors, in the biting cold, for the maximum wait time of 20 minutes. My lucky morning. I get off the bus, walk to the intersection and punch the button. I get the “Walk” signal and cross the intersection, past the front of the Rapid. I look up at the driver, walk around to the door. She opens it! I tell her I really appreciate this. My lucky morning.
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Our morning driver generally foregoes his rest stop at the regular destination for a Circle K a quarter mile or so earlier.  That way, he can get his morning coffee, and use the bathroom if he needs to.  However, this morning, after taking on boarders, he continues on his way.  One of the regulars calls out, “No coffee this morning?”  The driver replies there were several people behind him and he didn’t want to hold them up.
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I'm on the number 2 heading north this morning when we pull up to an empty bus stop. There’s a guy walking towards us who’s signaled the driver he wants to ride. When the bus pulls over, the would-be rider doesn’t increase his pace. It isn’t a long wait, maybe 10 or 15 seconds. But it’s still a wait. When he gets to the door and boards, he puts his money in, takes the pass, heads for the back. No thank you for the driver. An hour or so later, I catch the same bus, the same driver, going south. As we approach a stop, we pass two women walking the same direction. The driver wonders out loud if they want to catch his bus. He pulls over and waits to see what they are going to do. They keep walking at their own pace, until they reach the door. One of them stops and stands there until the driver opens the door. She swipes her pass, heads for the back. No thank you for the driver. The driver knows it would have been an hour before the next bus came for either of these riders. He didn’t have to stop and wait, but he did. On behalf of those two thoughtless riders, and all thoughtless riders everywhere: Thank you, driver.

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I’m waiting for the 66 when a Rapid Ride pulls up across the street. A single passenger exits and heads up the sidewalk. The driver starts to pull out when the passenger points to further up the sidewalk. There is a girl running toward the bus. The bus makes a single forward lurch, then stops. He waits for her. After she boards and he starts to pull out once again, I flash him a thumbs-up. He doesn’t see me.

***

Driver to the two young girls exiting the bus with their mother: “Don’t forget to drive your mother crazy. She loves that.”

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The photo at the top of this story is titled “Thank you to our outstanding bus drivers” © All Rights Reserved, and is posted with the permission of JarvisEye. You can see all JarvisEye’s photos on Flickr here.

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