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People Like This Shouldn’t Be Allowed Out In Public

, , , , , | Friendly | October 7, 2021

I was with my friend, who is black. We boarded a bus and randomly picked a pair of empty seats. A guy who was seated across and about two seats down from us pulled down his mask and snapped:

Guy: “We already have [health crisis]; we don’t need your AIDS and ebola along with it, monkey boy!”

And he moved all the way to the back of the bus.

I tried to comfort my friend and told him not to let idiots like that get the best of him. It was still clear he was very agitated and needed to cool off.

We got off at a station and moments later came across the guy walking ahead of us. My friend made a point to roughly bump into him and continue walking. I quietly advised him that this guy was accomplishing exactly what he intended in the first place, and I led him over to a bench so he could regain himself.

About a minute later, this guy came stalking up to us, ripping off his mask, and looking ready to eat melted steel. My friend immediately stood up.

My friend isn’t necessarily that large — six feet tall and about 200-something-odd pounds — but there is something about his eyes when he’s pissed that makes you stop and has effectively backed off people much larger than himself. It’s the definition of “death glare,” and the fact that he was wearing a bandana as a mask at the time only boosted it.

This guy stopped in his tracks, stared at my friend, and slowly backed away, walking away several yards. He then spent a solid five minutes pacing around in a circle, taking deep breaths, swaying his head from side to side.

He turned and then began approaching us again with a “Let’s get some!” look on his face. My friend stood back up again, and again this guy froze up, slightly opened his mouth, and visually tried to move forward, but he couldn’t. He retreated again for another silent self-pep talk.

The same scenario repeated again, and as he retreated again, I yelled after him:

Me: “Look, face it. You’re a coward, like the rest of them. You wouldn’t take him on even if he were in a wheelchair! Just go away!”

He just flipped us off with both hands and walked away, and we laughed hysterically.

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.

If You’re Going To Be A Jerk, Do It Quietly

, , , , , , , | Friendly | September 5, 2021

I’m a Brit on a bus in France with my Bulgarian friend and my French friend. We’re going to a French convention and the French friend has kindly offered us her abode. Going by accent, there’s a very loud American couple making derogatory comments about the passengers and generally about France in English, clearly thinking we can’t understand them.

My Bulgarian speaks loudly to my French friend in English.

Bulgarian Friend: “I think it’s very interesting that my school in Bulgaria had me learn English. Do they do the same in France?”

My French friend replies just as loudly, also in English.

French Friend: “Oh, yes. In fact, in Paris, you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t understand English at least a little. Hey, [My Name], what about you?”

Me: “Being from England, it means it’s pretty much all I can speak. Although I can tell you where I live in French if you want?”

French Friend: “Please don’t butcher my beautiful language.”

Random German Man: “We also learnt English in Germany!”

Random American Lady At The Back: “I’m from Louisiana! So we have English and… a different French.”

The couple was strangely quiet for the rest of the journey.

We Don’t Think The Tube Extends That Far

, , , , | Right | September 1, 2021

I work at a bus station in Indiana and sell tickets for cross-country travel. I have gotten some weird questions from drunk people, but this might be the best.

Customer: *Slurring* “Can you tell me which bus would get me to London?”

Me: “I’m sorry, where do you want to go?”

Customer: “London, England. Which bus I gotta take?”

Me: “You know England is on an island, right?”

Driving Away The Bad Passengers

, , , , , , | Right | August 24, 2021

I’m sitting on a bus, in a seat near the middle. It’s at the very beginning of its route, so it hasn’t left the transit loop yet. The only other passenger is an older white man who’s dishevelled and stinks of beer, sitting near the front.

A young, pretty Asian woman gets on and sits down a few seats away from the man. She takes out her phone and starts looking at it, and the man swivels in his seat and leers at her.

Passenger: “Hey, girlie!”

I can’t see her face from where I am, but I can see her shoulders tighten and she holds her phone higher.

Passenger: “Hey! D’ya speak English? You wanna learn some? I’ll teach ya! Come sit next to me!”

I’m wondering what I should do, when the bus driver calls from his seat.

Driver: “Sir, please do not bother the other passengers.”

Passenger: “Mind your own business.”

The driver gets up and stands in front of the man. 

Driver: “Sir, the safety and comfort of the passengers is my business.”

The man starts laughing. 

Passenger: “What, you want her for yourself, huh? What, you think she’d be interested in you, you [racial slur]?”

This statement is so outrageous that I actually snort. Even apart from the racism, the driver is a quite handsome young man, tall and athletic; his uniform and turban are clean and neat, and his beard is well-groomed. The contrast between him and the slovenly, drunken older man couldn’t be starker.

Driver: “I must ask you to get off the bus now.”

I’m briefly worried that the man will get even more belligerent, but in the face of direct confrontation, he backs down and gets off, still grumbling. While he’s getting off, I move to sit across the aisle from the woman.

Me: “Are you all right?”

Although she’s obviously very embarrassed, she nods, and then she looks at the driver.

Woman: “Thank you. I was a little afraid.”

Driver: “No problem, miss. Besides, if my mother and my wife found out I let a man talk to a woman like that, they would never let me hear the end of it.”