Saturday, April 4, 2009

My Favorite Bus Driver

When riding the bus home from work on Monday nights, there used to be a lovely, lovely bus driver. He's an older gentleman who always wears a powder blue baseball cap. He was always very nice, and then one day I left my phone on the bus. After much worrying, and guessing it was gone forever and phone calling and trekking to the Metro lost and found, I got my phone back. The next Monday while riding the bus home, we were waiting at the Northgate Transit center, and the bus driver got up and walked back to me. For a split second, for some silly reason, I thought he was going to tell me to get off, but he was only asking if I had my phone back. He had found it the week before, and turned it in for me, and best of all he remembered me. I thanked him over and over. Even when I got off the bus I said, "Thank you again for my phone."
He was delighted.

After that we had a special bus driver/rider bond, that spilled over to my coworker Chris who also rides that bus. He was always so happy to see us, and would never let us swipe our bus passes, he would just wave us on like old friends. And when I would get off the bus he would always say, "There you go." It's silly, but it made me smile.

One night, the bakery at work had extra pastries, so I took one to give to the bus driver. He was so happy and he told me how nice I was and that he loved me and and when I got off the bus that night he clasped my hand and said thank you in such a heartfelt way.

And then he was gone.

I was heartbroken. It's silly to be so attached, but there was something so lovely about a little personal connection on a normally impersonal transaction. I find the bus a wonderful conveniece, but a little sad. Here are these drivers who take me to work and home again every day, and I don't know them, they don't know me. It just seems so strange. Think about it in terms of your neighborhood bar or restaurant. After going there long enough you establish a repoire with the staff, "You want the usual?", I just want the same thing with my bus drivers.

It had been months since the last time I saw my bus driver, and then last week, I climbed on a bus that I normally don't ride, to meet Carrie and some friends for dinner. And there he was! I didn't even realize it was him until I had already paid and walked past. But when I sat down, he was looking at me in his mirror and waving. When I was getting off he was asked me where I had been, and told me when he drives that route he is always looking for me. I told him I ride the same times and he was the one that was missing. Oh, I was so happy to see him again! When I finally met up with Carrie that night she asked me how my bus ride had been and she was a little taken aback by my exclamation of, "Wonderful!"

I had to work tonight, a night I don't normally, and there he was again. My lovely, (to use Christy's phrase) dear, bus driver. I don't say much to him, I just sit on the bus and read, but still when I got off tonight, he squeezed my hand and told me how nice it was to see me.