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Literally Nobody Is Having A Good Time

, , , , , , | Working | September 9, 2021

I work in public healthcare admin in the next town over from mine. There’s no direct bus, so I take a train. I get to and from the bus station by local bus, and things are generally quite efficient.

I was doing this job when the health crisis hit, so getting a new job is virtually impossible, and by the time of this story, I’ve been commuting for almost a year under the conditions. I’m exhausted, I’m paid very little compared to the people who get to stay at home, and I am a month away from a broken ankle due to the stress of it all. At the other end, when traveling from work to the station, I get off work at the same time as the kids get out of school, and with social distancing on buses, I often sit there for half an hour until there’s a bus with enough space on it. Fair enough.

The station is full of posters that demand to know if your journey is necessary, even though a sizeable proportion of the population has no choice but to go out to work to keep the other part able to stay home.

It’s the typical British winter — raining cats and dogs — so this isn’t a good day at all.

I see my bus disgorge the passengers, and when they’re clear of the bus, I try to get on. The driver looks daggers at me.

Driver: “Wait there.”

I step back and he shuts the doors. Five minutes later, he opens them again after rearranging his cash boxes. Most drivers allow passengers on with app tickets, which we simply show to the driver, so it’s not necessarily an accounting problem. But fair do’s, this guy prefers to set up the next trip without passengers on board. Makes sense.

When I go to get back on after he opens the doors, I apologise for my hastiness. He snaps back at me.

Driver: “I choose when people get on, not you.”

I didn’t argue, and I understand other people are grumpy, too, but in seven years in a business customer service role, I’ve learned never to take that grumpiness out on actual customers. I wasn’t even upset about not being allowed to get on at first; it was about being shamed for doing so later on. It just made things a whole lot worse unnecessarily.

Thankfully, I haven’t encountered that guy since. I didn’t complain, since I was just exhausted and I’d already registered my general discontent with the company earlier and gotten a sufficiently reasonable explanation for the problem, but someone else must have helped out there.

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