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  • Category: Transportation

    Putting You In The Hot Seat

    | Paris, France | Crazy Requests, Transportation

    (I am on the bus home when a middle-aged woman gets on. The bus is far from empty, but there are several free seats left. Nonetheless, she approaches a teenage girl sitting down towards the front.)

    Lady: “I need that seat.”

    Girl: *in halting, heavily-accented French* “I’m sorry, I don’t…”

    Lady: “I NEED that seat. I need it now. I have a pass. I need it.”

    Girl: “I… there are other…”

    Lady: “BUT I NEED THAT SEAT.”

    (The girl apparently gave up, and decided to move to one of the free seats nearby. The woman sat her bag down on the vacated seat and proceeded to stand next to it with a faint air of triumph for the rest of her journey – all of three stops down the road.)

    Dead On Arrival

    | San Jose, CA, USA | Tourists/Travel, Transportation, Wild & Unruly

    (My husband and I are flying on a late Friday evening flight on a major air carrier and have just pushed back from the gate when the plane stops. We sit for less than five minutes when the pilot comes on the intercom and announces that we would be delayed slightly.)

    Pilot: “I thought I saw something odd with one of our engines as we started to pull out. It’s probably nothing, but we want to check it to make sure. It will be just a few minutes, folks.”

    (At this point, the passenger behind us, who is dressed in a business suit, starts making comments.)

    Passenger: “I hate this f****** airline! I’ve been late twice in the past few months, and they can’t ever get their act together. Now we’re going to be late again. They need to get this f****** show on the road!”

    (Less than ten minutes go by, with the passenger behind us swearing and commenting loudly and rudely to the man next to him, as well as calling a couple of people on his cell phone and roundly abusing the airline in very foul-mouthed language. Then the pilot comes on the com again.)

    Pilot: “Folks, we’re spraying gas from our number two engine, and I’ve called the mechanic to come look at it and see if it’s serious, or is something that can be fixed. I’m afraid there will be about a half hour delay while we determine what’s going on with the engine.”

    (At this point, the obnoxious passenger behind us calls one of the flight attendants over and starts ranting.)

    Passenger: “Your f****** airline is such a piece of s***! I’ve been working hard for two days and I need to get home to my wife, and now this f****** flight is delayed! My time is valuable, you know!”

    Attendant: “I’m very sorry, sir. We prefer to be safe, and hopefully it will be something that is easy to fix.”

    Passenger: “Yeah, always excuses! You people are such a bunch of f***-ups. My wife is going to be livid when she finds out we’re delayed! Get that f****** mechanic out there now, and get this plane moving! That f****** pilot is making me late! I’ve got places to be!”

    Attendant: “Everyone on this plane has somewhere to be, sir. I daresay that the pilot would like nothing better than to be done with this flight and getting to bed. I and the rest of the crew would like to be getting through with this flight and going off to bed, as well. I’m going to be late going home to my own family.”

    Passenger: “I’m an important businessman, and I need to get home! Your screw-up is what’s the problem, and I’m going to file a complaint against this f****** airline! Who cares about you, anyway? You’re just a bunch of pathetic losers who work for a f***-up airline. I’m never going to fly with your f****** airline again, because I won’t get in until after midnight at this rate! Thanks for screwing up the start of my weekend, a**hole! You can take your f****** airline and shove it!”

    (My husband, at this point, has had enough, and stands up to glower down at the obnoxious businessman. I’ve rarely seen him angry, but when he finally reaches that point, he can be intimidating.)

    Husband: “Look, this airplane has a mechanical problem, and the crew are doing everything they can to resolve it. Stop acting like an a-hole to the attendant, because he’s in the same boat we all are. And I’m SICK of listening to you whine and swear about how you’re going to be late. Fine, we’re all going to be late. I would rather be late landing in our destination than end up DEAD wherever we land when the PLANE FALLS OUT OF THE SKY when the ENGINE SELF-DESTRUCTS! GOT IT? Good!”

    (The attendant smiled and a couple other passengers flashed a thumbs-up at my husband. The obnoxious passenger got very quiet from there on out. The engine turned out to have a serious problem. We exited the plane shortly after the mechanic took a look at the engine, and the airline found us another aircraft. We were several hours late, but we didn’t hear from the obnoxious guy again, because my husband was right. Better to arrive in the middle of the night than not arrive at all!)

    Bugging Out About It

    | NE, USA | Money, Theme Of The Month, Transportation

    (We always know in the summer rental cars will come back with lots of dead bugs on the front bumper and windshield. This was a joke we used frequently.)

    Me: “Wow, looks like you hit a lot of bugs on the road out there!”

    Customer: “Yeah. I was out on a lot of country roads.”

    Me: “You know it’s a $1 per bug cleaning charge, right?”

    Customer: *immediately irate, stands up in a huff* “THAT IS OUTRAGEOUS. I WILL NOT PAY THAT! I WANT TO SEE YOUR MANAGER!”

    Me: “Whoa. Just a little joke, sir.”

    Customer: *sitting down, still upset* “Well, that’s stupid. And not funny.

    (I stopped telling the bug joke after that…)

    Roadkill Is A Feline-y

    | UK | Crazy Requests, Pets & Animals, Transportation

    (I’ve just started working on the reception and a customer comes rushing in.)

    Customer: “Oh, my god, you have to help. I’ve just run over a cat!”

    Me: “I think the vet is still in the building. If you bring the cat straight through to the back I’ll run and get him.”

    Customer: “I don’t have it with me!”

    Me: “Is someone else bringing it in? How injured is it? We can get everything ready.”

    Customer: “I don’t know. It’s on [motorway at least 10 miles away], and I just wanted you to let the owner know.”

    Me: “So… you hit it on the motorway? And you want me to find the owner and let them know?”

    Customer: “Yes, please. I already feel terribly guilty and would feel worse knowing the owner didn’t know.”

    Me: “Okay, I’ll do my best. Thanks?”

    Bus Fuss

    | Wales, UK | Extra Stupid, Tourists/Travel, Transportation

    (I work in a train station ticket office which has two main entrances: one directly from the platform and one from the street. There is no pavement outside the street entrance and the door opens straight onto the bus stop. The pavement is a good 20 feet away in any given direction.)

    Customer: *walks in through street entrance* “Hiya. Where’s the bus stop?”

    Me: “You actually walked over it. It’s just outside the doors there.”

    Customer: *heads for platform doors*

    Me: “Sir, stop! I meant the street doors. You know, the ones you entered through?”

    (The customer stops, pauses, looks at me, looks at street doors, looks at platform doors, starts again towards platform doors.)

    Me: “Sir, NOT THOSE DOORS! You need to turn around and walk back out the way you came in.”

    Customer: “The way I came in?” *turns to face the street entrance*

    Me: *encouragingly* “Yes, sir. Those doors right ahead!”

    (The customer does another 180° and starts off AGAIN for the platform.)

    Me: “Sir, please wait right there. I’ll lock up my booth and come show you.”

    Customer: “Sorry, thanks. It’s not very obvious.”

    (I quickly lock up my booth and come around to help the customer. I lead him physically by the arm outside. I only stop him when his feet are on the ‘B’ of ‘BUS STOP’ which is painted in four-foot-high letters on the floor).

    Me: “There you go, sir. Now, can you read the floor by your feet?”

    Customer: *looks* “Bus stop?”

    Me: Yep. So all you gotta do is wait here until one shows up!”

    Customer: *incredulously* “Do the buses come to here?”

    Me: “They do at that, sir.”

    Customer: *looks painfully unsure* “So this is the bus stop?”

    Me: “Yes indeed, sir. It is.” *checks timetable* “The next bus is to [Town] at 13:54, about two minutes from now.”

    (I ended up waiting at the bus stop with him until the bus came. He was a repeat visitor for about a month, during which time I learned that his car was broken and he was using trains and buses in the interim, and that in all his 32 years he’d never once used a public bus! He worked as a teaching assistant in a nearby primary school – I fear for our nation’s children!)

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