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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!

Nobody Gets A Free Ride (Without A Pass)

, , , , , , | Working | November 8, 2021

Years ago, I worked for my country’s state-run transport company, which was formed as a result of a merger between three other companies — two bus and one rail.

One of the perks of employment in the company was free public transport. Employees could travel for free on trains by showing our staff ID to the conductor, or on buses by tapping our pass on the ticket machine, which would then issue a free ticket.

One of my colleagues told me that years before I started working for the company, there was an “incident” on one of the buses involving the newly-appointed chief executive. He boarded a bus and walked straight past the driver toward the seating, and then the driver called him back and asked him if he could see his ticket.

The chief executive rather arrogantly declared that he didn’t need a ticket, as he was the chief executive and therefore travelled for free. The driver, who apparently had never met the chief executive, politely apologised for the inconvenience and again insisted that the chief executive would need to tap his staff pass to get a free ticket.

The chief executive refused again and accused the driver of insubordination, threatening to report him to his depot manager or the head of bus operations. The driver, unfazed by the threat, politely explained that the chief executive would either need to show his staff pass, pay for a ticket, or get off the bus. Making threats about “having the bus driver’s job,” the chief executive very reluctantly showed his pass and got his free ticket.

He actually did speak to the depot manager and head of bus operations, both of whom sided with the driver. The chief executive was politely told: one, the driver would have been disciplined for not checking the staff pass; and two, managers and directors were not exempt from showing their passes, no matter how high up in the company they were. The chief executive ended up being brought down a notch or two.

When I heard this story, I thought it was great that managers would back up their employees like that!