On The Chatterbus To Shut-The-H***-Up-Ville

, , , , , , , | Friendly | June 19, 2020

I’m on a long bus trip from Montreal, Québec, to Ottawa and then Toronto, Ontario. It’s something like seven hours, not counting the connecting time in Ottawa. It’s a “night trip” starting at 21:00 in Montreal and ending at 05:00 in Toronto.

There are two women sitting just in front of me for the two-hour trip from Montreal to Ottawa. They chat non-stop for the whole trip. It’s relatively early, so it’s not that bad. They speak some Arabic language, which makes it like “noise” to me, and I’m able to take a nap, not being tempted, voluntarily or not, to eavesdrop.

Then, there’s the leg from Ottawa to Toronto, which is four hours. They are sitting a few rows behind the driver, but are just chatting again non-stop. I am seriously amazed that their vocal cords haven’t called it quits by this time. All we hear is them. No one else is talking.

Then, about an hour into this trip, the bus driver speaks up.

“To whoever is talking non-stop behind me, it’s 3:00 am. Some people might want to sleep. Could you please be considerate and shut the h*** up?”

That might not have been the most courteous way to ask for it, but it did the trick.

I’m sure many travelers, in their heads, clap their hands for the driver. I know I did.

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Unfortunately, The Penny Dropped

, , , , , | Right | June 13, 2020

I am a passenger on a bus which is packed to the point of being standing-room-only. A petite woman gets on and drops her change as she tries to find a place to stand. I am about to squat down to get it when a man next to me, who has a tiny bit more elbow room, reaches down instead.

Woman: “Thanks…”

Before she could finish thanking him, the man checked the coin’s denomination and shoved it into his pocket. He was so close that he could not fail to be looking at the woman the whole time as he did so.

Woman & Me: “…”

After a few seconds, it became clear that this wasn’t a joke. He had blatantly stolen her change right in front of her. Not wanting to start a fight on a packed and already late service, I pulled out what I thought was the right amount of money from my wallet and handed it over to her so she was now out of pocket thanks to his idiocy.

The guy glared at me, possibly because I didn’t drop any more change for him to scoop up.

Seriously, mate, if you ever read this, if you are so poor you have to resort to stealing dropped change on the bus, maybe you should stop spending your cash on expensive mirror shades, a fancy new iPod, and flashy silver necklaces.

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This Doll(y) Is Really Amping Things Up

, , , , , , | Friendly | June 4, 2020

I am on the bus one night coming home from a late class. I’m sitting along the side of the bus, opposite the courtesy seats for elderly and disabled people. There’s a middle-aged woman sitting in one of these seats opposite me. For reasons that will become apparent, we’ll call her Bus Hag.

A musician — bass guitar on his back, carrying an amp on a dolly, the whole bit — gets on the bus. He places his amp in front of an empty space, sits on it, and holds the dolly with one hand and the pole with the other. We shall call this man Ponytail Dude.

Bus Hag: “Hey, buddy, can you move that thing? I don’t want it falling on my knee.”

Ponytail Dude: “Sorry?”

Bus Hag: “The dolly. It’s going to fall and hit my legs.”

Ponytail Dude: “It’s not going to fall. I’m holding onto it.”

Bus Hag: “Look, the f****** thing is going to fall.”

Ponytail Dude: “It’s not going to fall.”

Bus Hag: “It’s f****** dangerous. It’s going to fall and break my leg.”

She is, of course, referring to the dolly, which can’t weigh more than five pounds.

Bus Hag: “You’re f****** blocking the aisle, buddy. It’s dangerous. You’re a f****** sociopath! Blocking the aisle, blocking me, you’re creating a dangerous situation.”

Passenger #1: “Shut the f*** up, lady. He’s not hurting anybody.”

Bus Hag: “Watch your f****** language, buddy. Someone better wash your mouth out.”

Passenger #1: “Wash your mouth. You’re the one swearing.”

Passenger #2: “F*** off, you old bat.”

Bus Hag: “I should wash your mouth out.”

Passenger #3: “Shut up.”

At this point, Bus Hag returns her anger to Ponytail Dude, who has said very little in the past few minutes. She pulls out her phone and — rather obviously — tries to take a photo of Ponytail Dude, but he blocks her camera.

Bus Hag: “Get your f****** hand out of my face!”

Ponytail Dude: “Don’t take my picture.”

Bus Hag: “I was checking my f****** Facebook!”

Me: “You know we can hear your camera from over here, right?”

Bus Hag: “F*** you, you little s***. I was checking my f****** Facebook.”

Me: “We heard your camera. Were you maybe taking a self-portrait of you checking Facebook? By the way, I think your duck-face needs work.”

Bus Hag: “F*** off.”

Passenger #2: “Shut up, lady.”

I turn to Ponytail Dude, regarding the amp.

Me: “Could you pick that up and just drop it on me?” *Removing my hat* “Just right here, I want to forget this whole d*** experience as soon as possible.”

Finally, Bus Hag gives up and moves to the back.

Me: “That wasn’t so hard, was it?”

Passenger #1: “Hey, lady, you forgot your broomstick!”

Ponytail Dude: “Sad thing is, I’ve actually been on the bus with her before.”

Me: “I pity you, my friend. I am truly sorry for you.”

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Unfiltered Story #195802

, | Unfiltered | June 1, 2020

I am driving a bus between a remote suburb and the city central. En route to the city I pick up a bunch of tourists, all soaking wet after the recent heavy rainfall.
Lady: “You going downtown?”
Me. “Yes”
Lady: “Excellent!”
*Drops two adult and one child fare into the pay box, but they are three adults and two kids. Since they were tourists and soaking wet, I let it slide.*
As we near downtown, they are getting louder and taking over most of the passenger cabin by themselves or by hanging wet clothes all over the seats, causing puddles on the floor of the bus. This, unfortunately, causes an elderly gentleman to fall over a few stops later. (He is OK by the way.)
We finally get to the city central transit, where a row of passengers are waiting to board the bus. As I open the back doors (to let passengers out) and front door (to let passengers in), the tourist lady scrambles up front to my booth.
Lady: “Oh miss, we need to transfer to another bus.”
Me. “Ok?”
Lady: “So, we need transfer tickets.”
Me: “Well, if you needed transfer tickets, you should have stated so when you boarded the bus in the first place.”
Lady: “But we need transfer tickets! Can’t you just give us some?!”
Me: “No, I cannot, since it against the rules after X amount of time, which is why we state that you should ask for transfer tickets when you board the bus.”
*By now the passengers (and myself) are getting irritated at the lady, for she is not only holding up the line of paying passengers trying to get in the bus, but also the bus’ time schedule*
Me: “If you need tickets, go to [grocery store] over there and get some new tickets. I cannot give you transfer tickets.”
Lady: “But we are new here and did not know about this!”
Me: “I’m sorry, but I cannot give you tickets—”
Lady: “But the bus driver we were with before was able to print them just fine!”
Me: “So, you did “not know of this”, but still asked another bus driver for tickets? Lady, go to [grocery store] that is literally OVER THERE in plain sight and get NEW tickets.”
Lady: “So, they will give us our transfer tickets?”
At this point I was facepalming so hard that a co-worker who overheard the whole thing just shoo-ed them off and let me get on with my job.

95% of tourists here are absolutely excellent. Then there are the other 5% that just…. >_<

A Detour To Kindness

, , , , | Friendly | May 28, 2020

The bus I am taking is detoured due to an event. The end stop has also changed. I’m on the bus and it starts to deviate from its normal route. One of the passengers runs to the front. At first, she only yells at the driver that he is wrong and he should turn back.

The bus driver tries to explain but she is having none of it, and the situation quickly escalates as the passenger becomes violent towards the driver.

A good number of people are sitting closer to the front but nobody reacts. As the situation is quickly turning unsafe, I get up to the front. I’m not sure about this woman’s diagnosis, but it is clear from the young lady’s actions that she has a disorder that makes it difficult for her to deal with changes.

Me: *Speaking reassuringly* “Due to [event], the bus is rerouted, but it will be all right.”

Lady: “No, no, no, I don’t know how to get to my work now and I will be late.”

Me: “It will be all right. I’ll explain to you how to get there.”

Lady: “I need to go to [usual end stop]! I cannot get to my work otherwise.”

By now, it is clear to me that the girl is stuck in her mind. I lead her away from the driver as she is still lashing out to him but a bit less violently.

Me: “Come, sit here. It will be all right.”

Although the passenger’s panic was subsiding, it was not far away and needed little to rekindle. I tried to explain to her how she could get to her work but she was not responding. I resigned myself to arriving late to work myself. I kept talking to her, repeating that it would be fine.

I led her from the bus as she seemed unable to take action herself and walked with her until we got to a point she recognized and I was sure she would be able to get to her job — in the opposite direction of mine. All the time, I was responding to her mutterings, telling her it would be all right and that her boss would understand.

I was bolstered in that idea by the actions of a coworker of hers that happened to come by. She did not respond to him but it was clear that he knew her and knew of whatever she was dealing with. I got her safely where she had to go and made it with a second to spare to my own job.

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