Please Just (Bus) Stop

, , , , , | Friendly | May 8, 2018

(It is late afternoon, and I just got off my lunch shift as a waitress. I am at the bus stop waiting for the next bus home. The bus stop has a handful of people waiting, including an old man. The old man comes up to me and starts talking.)

Man: “Hi. How are you?”

Me: “Good.”

(I am young and have a friendly face, which unfortunately seems to make me a magnet for chatty strangers in the street. I have since learned to keep my answers short and my eye contact away from strangers.)

Man: “So, you are waiting for the bus to go home?”

Me: *nods, but quickly darts my eyes away*

Man: “What’s your name?”

(I start to get nervous and annoyed for many reasons. The first is that I just got off of a waitressing shift, which means I have a lot of cash on me. I also don’t want to answer him, but we are both waiting for the same bus, and I won’t be able to avoid him even if the bus comes soon. I am tempted to just walk away, but the buses in my city typically run every 45 minutes, which means that it would be dark by the time I got to my home bus stop if I waited for the next route. Eventually, my fear of getting mugged for my lunch shift money in the dark outweighs my fear of a creepy old man, so I decide to humor him, but to lie for the rest of the conversation.)

Me: “My name is Catherine.”

(My name is not Catherine.)

Man: “So, I guess you are a student here?”

Me: “Yes, I am a nursing student.”

(I am a foreign-languages major and absolutely can’t handle anything medical.)

Man: “Oh, a nurse. Do you have a boyfriend?”

Me: “Yes.”

Man: “Ah, good for him. If I were your age, I would certainly like to see what you could do.”

(He then proceeds to list a few crude acts. I am now completely uncomfortable and dart my eyes around the bus stop for help.)

Me: “Sir, please stop talking to me.”

Man: “Oh, what’s the matter? I am paying you a compliment.”

Me: “No, you are making me uncomfortable. Please go away.”

(Three girls are standing nearby, and one of them immediately goes over to me and takes me by the arm.)

Girl: “Hi, how are you? I haven’t seen you in ages!”

(She then leads me over to her friends and talks to me as if she has known me for years. I have never met this girl in my life, and I gratefully play along and have an animated conversation with them until the bus comes. When we get on the bus, she and her friends make sure to sit around me so that there is no way the man can sit near me. He sits far enough away that we can talk without him hearing.)

Me: “Thank you so much! I was starting to get really freaked out.”

Girl: “Yes, we saw how uncomfortable you looked when he went over to you, and when you told him to leave you alone, we decided to help out.”

Me: “I am so glad you did!”

(They sat next to me for the rest of the bus ride. The man was still on the bus as we got closer to my home bus stop, so I exited the bus two stops prior to my stop so he would not follow me home. Luckily, the girls were still on the bus by the time I was ready to get off, so I was not left alone on the bus with him. I took a very roundabout way to get home, but I got there just before dark. I never saw those girls again, but they were my angels that day. If you ladies are reading this, know that I never forgot what you did!)

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