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Encounters with friends & strangers

Your Next Destination: A Lesson In Manners

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | September 30, 2022

I’m sixteen years old and very shy. I have an ankle injury. I’m on crutches, waiting for the bus. When the bus arrives, it’s overly crowded and there’s no seat for me to sit. I stand near the driver and try to get a grip on a railing, so I can hopefully keep my balance on one foot.

The driver turns the engine off.

Passenger: “Sir, why have you turned the engine off?”

Driver: “Isn’t that obvious? I can’t drive when there’s someone standing here on one foot.”

Passenger: “But I need to get to the hospital. My wife is there, in labour.”

Driver: “Then I suggest you stand up and let this girl sit down, and I’ll drive.”

Passenger: “But I was here first. I’m not going to stand.”

The hospital is two stops away — about a twenty-minute walk.

Driver: “Girl, come here. You can have my seat.”

I sit down in the driver’s seat. A few passengers are beginning to talk among themselves, but nobody stands up.

Another bus driver passing by notices the bus is turned off and comes to investigate what’s going on. He notices me in the driver’s seat.

Driver #2: “Hello, where’s [Driver]? Oh, there you are. Nobody’s standing up, then?!”

Driver: “Nope.”

Driver #2: “You know what I did last week? I cleared the entire bus; only the person on crutches was allowed to stay. The rest had to either walk or take the next bus.”

Passenger: “You can’t do that. I NEED TO GET TO MY WIFE!”

Driver #2: “Then stand up and he’ll get you there.”


Both drivers exchange a look.

Driver: “All right, that’s it. Everybody out! NOW!”

Driver #2: *To me* “You just stay here, honey. It’ll be all right.”

Both drivers begin to clear the bus. Passengers who are unwilling to leave are simply thrown out by the two drivers. By now, a crowd has formed around the bus and I feel really anxious. When everybody is thrown out, I’m crying out of anxiety. [Driver] helps me to a seat and [Driver #2] gets back to his bus.

At the next stop, a few people get in, and one very professional-looking woman comments on the empty bus.

Driver: “Yeah, nobody was going to stand for this girl, so we threw everyone out.”

Woman: *Laughing* “Great! Good job.”

She sits next to me and tells me she’s an inspector from the bus company. She’s doing a random check to see if the driver is behaving like he’s supposed to. I begin crying again, fearing he’ll be in trouble for throwing paying passengers out.

Woman: “Oh, honey, don’t cry. He’s done brilliantly. Now, had he been driving while you were standing up, he would have been in trouble. But this will not get him in trouble. I won’t let that happen.”

I had a really nice chat with her and the driver after that.

A couple of days later, I got on the same bus at the same bus stop. Again, there was no seat available and nobody got up. At first.

Then, the driver — a different one from the two the other day — got up and loudly proclaimed, “Do I need to clear this bus?”

It’s unbelievable how many people actually stood up.

New Hampshire, Eat Your Heart Out

, , , , , | Friendly | September 28, 2022

I live relatively close to Canobie (Can-oh-bee) Lake Park in New Hampshire. I work in the same town it’s in, so during the summer months, it’s not uncommon to hear customers mention it.

One little girl is a bit more memorable than most. She’s about six, energetic without being a nuisance, and very excited, because apparently, she’s having a big day.

Girl: “And then we’re going to Cannibal Lake!”

One Might Suggest That Letting Your Kid Call Strangers Is Rude, Too…

, , , , | Friendly | September 27, 2022

I received a video chat call from a phone number I didn’t know. I rejected the call, only to have it pop up again. After the third call, I texted the number.

Me: “Who is this?”

A fourth call came and I rejected it again. Two more followed, making six calls in three minutes. 

Me: “Stop calling me.”

Finally, they stopped. Then, a few minutes later, I got a text reply.

Random Number: “My kid had my phone. He was just playing around. You didn’t have to be so f****** rude. God bless, but I hope you don’t have kids.”

I was going to reply by saying I wasn’t rude, but I figured someone like that wasn’t going to change their mind.

“Welcome To The Group Chat; How Can I Help You?”

, , , , , , , , , | Friendly | September 25, 2022

Years ago, when I used to work at a fast food drive-thru, I developed an odd muscle memory tic. I was a gamer, so I wore a headset and often used a function called Push-To-Talk when in voice channels with my friends. Basically, I would push a button so that I could be heard and release the button when I didn’t want to be heard. This stopped background noise from coming through, but it also meant I had to push the button to be heard.

One night, while chatting with my friends, I realized they couldn’t hear me despite the fact I was sure I was pressing the button. It wasn’t until my husband came over and tapped me on the shoulder to point out what I was doing that I realized I was trying to push a button on my headphones — about the same location the button was on my drive-thru headset at work.

Embarrassed, I pressed the button on my keyboard, apologized to my friends that I hadn’t been present in the conversation, and explained what had happened. They didn’t stop giving me grief about it for a solid few years, even long after I lost that job.

All Men Must Drive

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | September 23, 2022

I have just arrived in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and am on a bus from the airport to the old town with a bunch of tourists. The town is famous (among other things) for being the filming location of King’s Landing for the show “Game Of Thrones”, so a lot of tourists come here for that reason.

I overhear a phone call between a young American fellow and his mother back in the States. It seems like this is his first trip abroad and his mother is worrying.

Passenger: “Yes, I am on the shuttle bus to the airport now.”


Passenger: “No, a bus. Just a regular bus.”


Passenger: “No, Mom, I told you! It’s a regular bus, with wheels and— What? Yes, it’s a real road! Like a normal highway!”


Passenger: “You know I’m not literally going to Westeros, right?”


Passenger: “Yes, they do have Wi-Fi.”


Passenger: “Because this is 2022, and they have electricity, and democracy, and TikTok.”