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That’s Not Fare

, , , , , | Working | February 3, 2023

I want to meet my partner downtown. My plan is to take the bus, and I’ve already bought a ticket. I’m waiting at the bus stop along with some other folks. The bus is already running late when it finally arrives. The ones waiting to enter the bus are quietly sorting out who goes first, putting on their masks — the usual thing.

Bus Driver: *Yelling* “Get in already!”

Okay, I get the mood, but okay. He’s probably annoyed himself that he’s running late. A man goes first, and I’m second to pass by the bus driver to show or buy a ticket. The man in front of me still has to buy a ticket.

He hands a 50€ note to the bus driver.

Traveler: “Ulm!”

Bus Driver: *Angrily* “You can’t pay with a 50€ note! Do you have anything smaller?”

Traveler: *Looking confused* “Ulm!”

Apparently, the man doesn’t speak German at all. Still angry, the driver points to the door.

Bus Driver: “Get out! You can’t ride on this bus, then!”

The other traveler moves toward the door and my alarm bells of injustice start to ring when I jump in.

Me: *To the other traveler* “Hold on. I’ll pay for the ticket for you.” *To the bus driver* “I’m gonna pay for his ticket. How much is it?”

Bus Driver: “3,10€.”

Me: *Starting to collect coins* “Why did you want to kick him out? He has enough money for the ticket.”

Bus Driver: *Unfriendly* “I can’t accept 50€ notes!”

I’m getting angry, as well.

Me: “So, why didn’t you explain that in a friendly way? He doesn’t understand what’s going on! Here you go.”

I try to hand over the coins.

Bus Driver: *Furious* “Get out! Both of you!”

Me: *Totally shocked* “What?! I just asked you to be more friendly, and by the way, I have a ticket already!”

Bus Driver: “I don’t care! Get out! Both of you!”

So, the other man and I left the bus. We looked at each other, shaking our heads. In the end, my partner picked me up at the bus stop, and we gave the other guy a lift downtown. My complaint is still unanswered.

The Bus Driver Busted, But He Fixed It

, , , , , , , | Working | January 26, 2023

I have been taking a rural bus service for a few weeks to help out a friend who has had surgery. I live in town and catch the bus at a mall a couple of blocks from my house.

One day, I get on the bus, sit down, and notice a sign at the front saying that the service schedule has changed. When I get off the bus, I ask the driver if he will be coming back to where he can pick me up at the usual time. The place where he stops is about a ten-minute walk from my friend’s place.

Driver: *Absently* “Oh, sure, yeah.”

Later that day, I’m waiting at the stop. And waiting. And waiting. I forgot my phone at home today and don’t wear a watch, so I’m not sure how late it’s getting.

I’m just about to walk back to my friend’s place, where at least my husband can pick me up when he gets off work. A pick-up truck pulls onto the side road where I wait, and the driver beckons to me. To my surprise, it’s the bus driver.

Driver: “I zoned out earlier when you asked me about the schedule changes, and I forgot to tell you that I’d be coming by here half an hour earlier. I felt so bad that when I finished my shift, I decided to come back and see if you were still waiting here.”

He would have dropped me off at my doorstep, but I had shopping to do for supper, so I got him to set me down at the mall. That’s the nice thing about small towns; we look out for each other.

You Need To Take Several Seats, Lady

, , , , , | Friendly | January 1, 2023

When I was pregnant, I very quickly developed problems walking, partly due to my back disease, and I was told a few things to think about. One of those was to not stand on a moving bus.

Being a shy woman in Sweden, where we are very bad at speaking to strangers unless it is an emergency, I avoided full buses altogether, as my pregnancy wasn’t visible yet. However, sometimes you just need to get somewhere, even during the busiest hours.

So, I ended up standing on a bus, looking for the first available seat to claim. One man, seeing me, seemed to realise my situation, perhaps due to my pained expressions and bad balance. He stood up and offered me his seat, which was for older people, pregnant people, and those with other disabilities. I thanked him with a smile and sat down with relief.

Cue entitled old lady. She got onto the bus, came up to me, and began staring at me. It took a while before I realised she wanted me to give her my seat, and before I could say anything, an older gentleman offered his instead. The old woman merely glared in his direction and then turned to me.

Old Lady: “The youth of today should really learn to respect their elders. Stand up!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I really shouldn’t stand, and he offered—”

Old Lady: “I don’t care. I want to sit down, and you should stand up! I’m old and frail, while you are young and strong. Why should he stand instead of you?”

Older Gentleman: “It is quite all right; I have no problem standing. You can have my seat.”

Old Lady: “No, I don’t want your seat! Sit down.”

He did sit back down, and she stared me down again.

Me: “Look. I’m sorry, but I really shouldn’t stand.”

Old Lady: “Yes, you should!”

Me: “I’m pregnant and—”

Old Lady: “So what? You can’t be far along, and I had no issues standing when I was pregnant.”

Me:And I have a back disease and can barely walk at the moment. The doctor told me not to stand on buses.”

The old lady scoffed. And despite her attitude, I could see a slight shock on her face; I think she got the picture but did not want to admit she was wrong.

Old Lady: *Mumbling* “Entitled youth.”

Then, she turned toward the older gentleman. He shrugged and said:

Older Gentleman: “Oh, you didn’t want a seat, and it is such a hassle for my old back to stand back up.”

She didn’t reply but merely moved on, further back, and got another seat soon enough.

Mind Your Own Bus-iness

, , , , , | Right | December 5, 2022

When I joined the company I currently work for back in 2009, I was located in a store an hour and a half away from my hometown by bus. This story takes place on the bus coming home. My friend and I had been working a long day in the store — ten hours each — and we got on the 20:30 bus home. Around twenty minutes into the journey, a young man boarded and stood and talked to the driver, who he seemed to know well. 

This didn’t bother any of the passengers already on board until we got to the next town over. There, a couple in their late sixties boarded and sat down on the lower deck. (We have double-decker buses in the UK.) About five minutes after they boarded, I could hear them moaning about the young man talking with the driver. They then started to loudly make their opinion on the matter known to anyone within earshot. 

It went on and on and on, constant complaining and crowing about how the young man should behave like a proper passenger. No one else was bothered by it at all. Eventually, we arrived at the main bus station in the town before my home town. The older couple began to get off, but not before they berated the driver for a solid ten minutes.

At this point, the rest of us were tired and just wanted to get home. I was about to stand up and say something when a middle-aged man stood up and walked over to them.

Man: “Look. We are all tired and stressed after a long day at work. Leave these men alone and p*** off before I shove my umbrella somewhere.”

The older couple looked at him and then got off the bus to cheers from the other passengers.

There’s A Frustrated Toddler Inside Each Of Our Hearts

, , , , , , | Right | December 5, 2022

I was returning from a trip, on a bus from the ferry terminal to the train station. The bus was so full that some people had to stand. It was hot and crowded, and everyone was tired from the trip. One man in particular was frustrated. He claimed that some other passengers were cutting the line and being rude to him. They tried to move away, but it was impossible to escape as the bus was between stops. It almost seemed like there was going to be a fight… until…

One lady sitting next to the angry standing man started to talk to him. She asked where he lived, how long he had been living there, how he liked the place, if he had been on vacation, etc. Little by little, he started to calm down. When he tried to complain about the other passengers’ behavior, the lady just calmly stated:

Lady: “I guess we are all tired from the trip. This is always the worst part of traveling, don’t you think?”

After a while, they were joking and laughing, and everyone relaxed.

When the man got off the bus, one of the passengers thanked the lady. She replied with a smile:

Lady: “Distraction techniques for children are often useful with adults, as well.”

I have since found out that she was right!