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Sometimes The Least You Can Do Is The Best Thing You Can Do

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | May 6, 2022

When I was fifteen, I caught the same bus every Saturday to get to my flute lesson. I usually left early so I had some time to spare. One such Saturday morning, I left even earlier than usual. It was fairly cold and there was a light rain, so I was wearing an long, red coat and had a decent-looking umbrella. I’ve been told before that this outfit made me look around eighteen, so maybe that’s why the things that happened the way they did.

I made it to my bus stop and sat down to wait. The only other person there was a girl in her twenties. She was crying and clutching a single piece of paper. I also noticed that she wasn’t wearing anything warm, despite the weather. I felt really bad for her.

Me: “Are you all right?”

She looked at me, swallowed, and said:

Girl: “I just got some bad news.

Me: *Concerned* “Do you want to talk about it?”

That seemed to be the tipping point, and she broke down in front of me. She explained through tears that she’d gone to her doctor to check a lump on her neck and that she’d just gotten the results back. It was a tumour. She didn’t know if it was malignant, but her doctor wanted her back immediately for more testing.

I sat with her for about ten minutes. She told me that her friend was picking her up to take her to the appointment, but she didn’t know how long they would be. I didn’t really know what to do, but I just wanted to make sure she was all right. Then, my bus came. The girl waved me away, trying to smile, saying that she would be fine. Feeling guilty, I got on. I was the only person on board. The bus driver looked equally worried.

I didn’t even make it a single stop before I felt bad about leaving her in the rain by herself. I asked the driver to stop early. Since I was the only person there, he let me off, telling me to make sure the girl was all right. I ran the whole way back. Luckily, the girl was still sitting there waiting. She looked shocked that I’d come back but a little glad, too.

Me: “I really don’t think you should be alone right now.”

I sat with her for another ten minutes, talking with her and trying to distract her until her friend came. When her friend’s car finally appeared, she started thanking me profusely. Her friend pulled up and leaned over from the driver’s seat, asking what was going on.

Girl’s Friend: “Thank you so much for staying with her. [Girl] called me and I came as fast as I could, but the traffic was terrible. Do you want a lift since you missed your bus?”

Me: “No, it’s all right. I was early anyway. I just hope everything turns out all right.”

Girl: *Through tears* “Thank you. It really means a lot that you did that. I’m sorry to have just dumped it all on you. Thank you so much.”

Me: “It’s fine. That’s just something you shouldn’t have to sit alone with. I only did what I thought was best.”

Girl’s Friend: “Are you sure you don’t want a lift?”

I shook my head, wished [Girl] good luck, and waved them off. They thanked me again multiple times and then slowly drove away. Even though I ended up being a few minutes late for my lesson, I’ll never forget the way [Girl] thanked me for simply sitting with her and listening. [Girl], if you’re out there, I really do hope you’re okay and that everything turned out all right in the end.

It’s A Good Friday Somewhere, But Not Here

, , , , , | Right | April 17, 2022

I work in customer service for a bus company. We have different service schedules/timetables for weekdays, school holiday weekdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Public holidays operate on the Sunday timetable.

Me: “[Operator], this is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Caller #1: “Yes, I wanted to know, is tomorrow a normal timetable?”

Me: “No, as tomorrow is Good Friday, it will operate on a Sunday timetable.”

Caller #1: “Oh, so is Saturday a Sunday timetable, as well, then?”

Me: “No, ma’am, Saturday is a normal Saturday timetable, and Friday, Sunday, and Monday are all on the Sunday timetable.”

Caller #1: “Oh, so is today a Sunday timetable?”

Me: “No, ma’am, as today is Thursday, it is a normal weekday timetable.”

Caller #1: “Is today Thursday?”

Me: *Banging my head on the desk* “Yes, ma’am, today is Thursday and therefore a normal weekday timetable.”

Caller #1: “Oh, thank you.”

A bit later:

Me: “[Operator], this is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Caller #2: “I’m looking up the timetables on your website and it says, ‘Bus operates public school days only.’ Does that mean that it operates today?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, as today is the last day of public school, that bus will operate today.”

Caller #2: “I’m just trying to understand, if it says, ‘Bus operates public school days only,’ does that mean that it operates on days when public school is on, or on the school holidays?”

Me: “That means that it operates on the days when the public schools are open, and as today is the last day of term one for public schools, then that bus operates today.”

Caller #2: “I’m just confused. Does it mean it operates on public school days or public school holidays?”

Me: “Ma’am, as it states, ‘operates public school days only,’ that means it operates on public school days only.”

I’m not sure how else to spell this out.

Caller #2: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Absolutely, ma’am.”

Caller #2: “O-okay, then.” *Hangs up*

Cue more head-desking.

When You Gotta Go…

, , , , , | Friendly | April 7, 2022

One time in the early 1970s, I was on a full bus heading from Minnesota to visit my cousin in South Dakota. This was back in the dark days of travel before there were many (if any) rest areas, gas stations at every major intersection, and chain restaurants galore. I was sitting up near the driver chatting with him. He was a cool guy and was telling me all sorts of stories.

We were approaching the border between the two states and he got on the PA.

Driver: “Welcome to South Dakota! Enjoy the wide-open views.”

Everyone who had kind of been dozing stirred and looked out the windows.

Right then, we passed a car on the side of the road, and out in front of it was some poor woman crouched down relieving herself. I can still remember the shocked expression on her face as this busload of people whizzed by and the laughter of the bus passengers getting their first glimpse of the… wonders of South Dakota.

Time For A Scenic Tour Of The City, I Guess

, , , , , | Working | March 24, 2022

I’m on a bus on my way home from work. My stop is near the end of the line and in a residential area, so there are not many passengers coming onto the bus at that point. I hit the button for my stop, but the driver keeps on driving right past it.

Me: *Calling out* “Hey, you missed my stop!”

Driver: “What?”

Me: “You missed my stop, back there!”

The driver pulls over in a safe spot, and I go up front to swipe my card. He hasn’t opened the door for me at this point.

Driver: *Belligerently* “Next time, press the button.”

Me: “Excuse me? I did press it.”

Driver: “I didn’t hear anything.”

The other passenger and I both heard it.

Me: “Well, I did, and the light went on, so I know the button isn’t broken.”

Driver: *Suddenly, more belligerently* “Do you think I can see the f****** light from here?”

This is a fair point, as the light is behind him as he’s looking at the road. However:

Driver: “You sit down there—” *indicating his seat* “—and tell me if you can see it. Huh?”

Now a bit taken aback, I just stutter.

Driver: “Go on. Sit down there.”

He then grabs me and shoves me down into the driver’s seat. I’m not too strong and I’ve had a long day anyway, so he easily gets me sitting down.

Driver: “Can you see it? Can you see that light from there?”

Of course, I can’t, but at this point, I’m pretty fed up.

Me: *Standing up* “Look, mate, you know that I can’t see it. And I know I heard the buzzer, so either something’s not working up here or you need your hearing checked. Which one is it?”

The driver shrinks a little and opens the door. I start to tag off. The driver speaks a bit more meekly but still tries to be belligerent.

Driver: “I’ll put in a request to get it looked at.”

Me: “Smart move.”

And then I simply turned around and walked off the bus. I started using a different bus route the next day.

Time To Invest In Some Name Tags

, , , , | Friendly | November 16, 2021

I’m on a bus with my boyfriend and two friends. We’re all from the same university and going to a university defense in another city. At some point, we’re stopping in Marseille, which in France has a kind of “bad” reputation for thieves and similar issues.

One of my boyfriend’s friends lives there, and since he lives not too far from the train station where the bus is going to stop, he comes to say hi. We all go to chat with him quickly while some people are leaving the bus and others are coming in. The bus driver has opened the baggage compartment of the bus and is helping people reach their luggage.

Boyfriend: “Hey, isn’t that our luggage this guy is taking?”

We’re a bit slow to react, so we don’t chase down the guy directly. I go to the driver and try to get our luggage only to realize that it is indeed missing.

In this bag, there is my boyfriend’s suit and, more importantly, our end-of-study project, which we have been working on for almost two years and have to show at the university.

We start to panic — while our two friends decide to just stay near the bus in case it leaves without us — and rush out into the train station, each of us taking a different side.

I didn’t even see the guy’s face, our bag is not easy to look for — just a big black bag — and there are a lot of people, trains leaving, and other ways out. I’m starting to think it will be impossible to retrieve our bag.

And then I see it; a man is sitting in the waiting area with our big bag on the ground. 

Me: “Excuse me, sir. I think you got my bag instead of yours. Can I check?”

The man looks at me without saying a word, so I open the bag and, sure enough, I find our project and my boyfriend’s clothes.

Me: “I’m sorry, but that’s my bag.”

The man was still silent, so I took the bag and got back to the bus.

We informed the bus driver and he asked the other passengers to check their luggage. We did not leave our bag unattended after that.

I can’t even imagine how horrible it would have been to discover our bag missing at the end of the journey!