‘Public’ Transit: The good, the bad & the ugly

[Public transit] is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” — inspired by Forrest Gump

12 January, 2015, 12:30pm, London, ON. Incident on a city bus starts with a girl pulling the cord for her stop. The driver doesn’t. Her light voice alerts the driver’s attention to this. He drives past the next stop. He claims it didn’t go off. He’s wrong, the bell works; he’s right, his dashboard indicator does not work. Way past her stop, she gets off.

Moments later, another girl stomps to the front of the bus, and I guess, tries to make sure the driver truly understands that he was wrong. The girl’s gone, so I gather she’s gallantly trumpeting the cause for all those unfortunate souls now and in the future. Noble, maybe. However, during the exchange, she calls him a “fuckin’ idiot”, and stomps back to her seat. The driver tells her to get off his bus. The bus stays put; she stays put; all the passengers are stranded by this spat. She plainly states, “I’m not getting off”, and buries her haughty face in her smartphone – sadly the only smart thing in this moment.

Resigned to their fate, passengers trickle off little by little. One passenger (girl) tries to use logic to reason with her – she still refuses to get off. Logic Girl loses patience and points out the obvious – there was a malfunction, not the driver’s fault, and you’re just being childish/immature. She digs her heels in and says Logic Girl can get off if she wants, “I’m not getting off”. Uber-irritated passenger (guy), unplugs his earbud and proclaims, “I’m goin’ to be late for work for this shit”. Most of the passengers have now lost faith in humanity, choosing instead to disembark for a better future.

I get off and scurry onto the next available bus going in the general direction. Is that the end? Not quite. The slighted passengers complain/explain to the unfortunate driver of the rescue bus. We’re saved, but soured on the childishness of adults. One is worried the driver of the other bus will get in trouble. Rest assured; his union will back him up, and frankly, he the right to kick her off and take the stand he did. The late worker slams the window outside Ignorant Girl, spewing a brief explosion of expletives – Doubt he has a union to back him up, but I would!

Just as all hope seemed lost for the future of the human race, an old geezer with a walker rings the bell to get off at the next stop. We hold our breath. Will the driver hear his request? Will he whizz on past only to risk the wrath of an old man with a ‘weapon of minimal destruction’? There’s relief all around. And, as if to drive home the chasm between the previous incident and this one, as he’s getting off the bus with his walker, he playfully warns everyone to watch out, “I’m dangerous, I don’t have my license, and I’ve hit three people already this morning.”

Smiles and laughter all around and life is good again. The human race will survive!

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