It’s Not As Clear As A Bell To Him

| Working | January 25, 2015

(I am taking the bus home from my university campus. Upon seeing my stop coming up, I pull the cord to signal to the driver to stop. Normally, a bell sounds to signal that the pull has been registered, but in this case nothing happens to signal that the pull has been registered. At the same time, three other students each pull the cord, with short intervals. We have no way to know if the driver has noticed our signals, but as we approach the stop sign, he slows down and comes to a stop. However, he doesn’t open the rear doors as usual and instead gets on the speaker system in the bus.)

Driver: “Please exit through the front door.”

(As the four of us line up to exit, he stops each of the students in front of me and tells them individually, in a stern voice, that they only need to pull the stop cord once. They are all international students, as am I, and seem somewhat confused by his admonition, but just nod and walk off the bus. As it is my turn, I decide to tell the driver that the signal bell isn’t working, even if it should be obvious to him.)

Driver: *sternly* “You only need to ring the bell once to signal for me to stop.”

Me: “Yes, I know. However, your bell isn’t working, so we couldn’t know if you knew we needed to get off.”

Driver: “But I get a signal up here on the instrument panel, and that works just fine, so only pull the cord once.”

Me: “Yes, but WE couldn’t hear the bell ring, so we didn’t know.”

Driver: “But I saw the signal just fine. You only need to pull once.”

Me: “Yes, I understand, but WE couldn’t hear it, so how are we supposed to know the pull registered?”

Driver: “But I saw the signal. You only have to pull once.”

Me: “But WE DIDN’T!”

Driver: “But I saw it just fine.”

Me: *at this point, I realize we are going to be here all day, if I keep this up* “Great! I know that already.”

Driver: *as I exit the bus* “You should only pull the cord once.”

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