Sunday, April 27, 2014

BUS STORY # 390 (Thank You For Your Service)

Downloaded from the City of Albuquerque website.

When I posted last week’s bus story, I also posted a side link under “This Week In Albuquerque,” “ABQ RIDE to Provide Free Transportation to Veterans with V.A. Hospital Cards.

The next day, I had some business that put me at the corner of Montgomery and Wyoming, waiting for the westbound 5. I was sitting on the bench when a guy who looked older than me jaywalked himself across Montgomery. Blue jeans jacket, blue jeans, and looking a lot like Robert Duvall.

He approached the bench, then stopped and looked me over. Then he said something I couldn’t make out other than the word “free.” His voice was thick, and I wondered if he’d had a stroke.

I heard him the second time: today was the first day you could ride the bus for free if you had a V.A. card.

I told him I’d heard about that, and he took the seat beside me. He sat down slowly and stiffly.

Then he took out his wallet and pulled out a monthly Silver Pass, the pass for seniors. He told me he’d just bought it when he heard about the V.A. card, and now he didn’t need it anymore. He offered to sell it to me for ten bucks. Since this pass costs twelve, that might be a bargain for someone, but not for me. I showed him my annual Silver Pass.

I don’t think he heard me, but when he saw my pass, he figured it out. He put his pass back in his wallet. I told him he’d surely find someone who’d buy it. And that was when the bus came.

It was crowded, and we ended up on the back platform, sitting on the bench seats opposite one another. I leaned forward and told him now he knew the V.A. ID really worked. He said he already knew that; this was his third boarding of the day. He said he took the 11 to the 2, then walked over to Wyoming for the 5. I laughed and told him I’d taken pretty much the same routes.

When we got to his stop, he wished me a good day. I thanked him, then added, “Thank you for your service.” But I don’t think he heard me.

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