The Baby Bus Blues

, , , , | Friendly | October 25, 2018

(I am expecting my first baby; my due date is less than a month away. Because of a mechanical problem I have no car, so I go to the doctor on the bus. It isn’t a rush hour so I get a seat, but they are full by the next stop. A few stops after I got on, a very old man gets on the bus. He clearly has problems getting on the bus, so the driver goes to help him. Once on the bus the old man looks to the disabled seats, all occupied by people without disabilities or special needs, and no one moves. I decide to give him my seat; for me it’s the obvious thing to do, even being pregnant.)

Me: “You can sit here.”

Old Man: “Thank you, sweetie.”

(I stand up, and everyone on the bus notices my pregnancy. The old man, in a very loud voice says:)

Old Man: “Oh, when are you due?”

Me: “Just a few weeks.”

Old Man: “Congratulations!”

(After that, two very embarrassed people decided to get up and, without a word, pointed me to their seats.)

Older Isn’t Wiser

, , , | Friendly | August 5, 2018

(Our tram can no longer continue its way, because another tram was in an accident with a car. We have the option to stay in the tram for an unknown period, or walk to the next bus stop, which is about ten minutes away. I go to the bus stop, and halfway along the route I pass an older lady who is hiking at an impressive speed. We almost have the same pace — I’m in my 30s and able-bodied. When I reach the bus stop, a blind person exits another bus. I see him walking to the tram platform, so I inform him the tram was in an accident and won’t drive.)

Blind Person: “What happened?”

Me: “Some car thought he was faster than the tram. It just happened, so we don’t know how long it will take.”

Blind Person: “Oh, then I’ll take bus number [number].”

(It’s the same bus I need and I see it coming. We warn the blind person, but he almost walks in front of that bus, so a guy pulls him out of the way. Both the guy and I decide to let the blind person get in first. The blind person enters the bus and checks the number, and I feel myself being pushed aside; it’s the older lady I passed before. She obviously really wants to enter the bus — like everyone else — and uses everything but her elbows to get in front.)

Me: “All right, you can go first if you need to.”

(The lady shoots me a glare and hurries inside, almost pushing the blind person out of her way, hissing “insolent monkey!” That means “insolent youth” in Dutch. She might have aimed for the disabled people-seat, but guess who got that seat? She may be older than me, but she did nothing to earn my respect, and I’m glad we let the blind person go in first, so he could get that seat.)

You Don’t Work In The Same Field

, , , , , | Working | July 17, 2018

(I ride the bus in to my work each day, as do a few of my coworkers. We meet up occasionally and sit together. I am sitting next to a newer coworker. We are both female.)

Coworker: *lets out a loud whistle*

Me: *surprised* “What? What’s happening?”

Coworker: *in a loud whisper* “Check out dat a**!”

(She points at a man standing a little ways down the bus, who shifts, glancing at us and looking uncomfortable. I guess I look a little shocked or disgusted.)

Coworker: “What? I’m just leveling the playing field.”

(The man got off at the next stop quickly. I felt bad, and I ended up not sitting next to that coworker in the future.)

Planning For A Wedding Can Be A Tram-Wreck

, , , , | Romantic | May 29, 2018

(My girlfriend and I decide to get married. Since we want to avoid unpleasant surprises, we want to have a prenuptial agreement — which in the Netherlands also covers property agreements during your marriage — and testaments, for which we have to visit a solicitor in a different town. We don’t have a car, so for the first meeting, I leave work early and take the train back to our hometown, where I meet my fiancée at the station and we take a bus to the other town. There, we are supposed to take a tram.)

Fiancée: “We must take tram three in the direction of The Hague, at platform two.”

(Unfortunately, we don’t see any signs with the platform numbers. I do, however, see a sign saying that on the nearest platform, tram three will come in. The direction is also right, so we wait for the tram and when it arrives, we get in. But after a few stops, I notice something is off.)

Me: “Wait… Are we going the right way? The names of the stops don’t end up.”

Fiancée: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Look, we are going out of [Town]. I think we’re going the wrong way!”

Passenger: “Where do you need to go?”

Fiancée: “[Town]’s station.”

Passenger: “This tram is going to The Hague.”

Fiancée: “Oh, dear, that’s all wrong!”

(We get out at the first stop. It turns out that tram three makes two stops at the station, since it makes a circle through the town before leaving for The Hague. But since we couldn’t tell the platforms from each other, we took the wrong one. We take the first tram back. Another passenger tries to help out.)

Passenger #2: “If you get out at the next stop, you can go to the platforms on the higher level and take tram five. That’s quicker.”

(This turns out to make matters worse for us, since we have to hurry and don’t know which platform upstairs is the right one. In the end, we miss this tram and have to wait for ten minutes, while it’s cold and rainy. My fiancée feels terrible from all the stress and is nearly crying. Finally, we get the right tram and manage to get to the solicitor’s office. We have notified them that we would be a bit late, and they do not mind. Finally, we take the bus back to our hometown.)

Me: “You know what the most given ticket in [Solicitor’s Town] is?”

Fiancée: “No?”

Me: “Excessive speed. Everyone wants to get out.”

(Months later, we have to go visit the solicitor again to sign our prenuptial agreement and testaments. Over the last months, we have left our small apartment and moved to a bigger house in a different village. Obviously we are delighted that we can get to the solicitor all by train now. No more trams! Instead, we take a train to a nearby town, and then we can board a regional train, which goes in the direction of The Hague and makes a stop at the station in [Solicitor’s Town]. When in the latter train, once again I notice something is off.)

Me: “Wait, I don’t see any stops on the screen. Is this the right train? I already thought it left a bit early.”

Fiancée: “You mean…”

Me: “I think we accidentally boarded the InterCity. This train won’t stop at [Town], only at The Hague!”

(After arriving in The Hague, we have to make a run to catch a train that will stop at our station. Again, we arrive a bit late at the solicitor’s office, but once again they are nice and polite and everything ends on a happy note. We leave the office and go back to our house.)

Fiancée: “I think [Town] is cursed.”

(At our wedding, I can’t resist making a joke about our trouble when giving a speech about how much I admire all the effort my fiancée — now wife — has done for the wedding:)

Me: “She even ventured out with me, two times, in order to visit the Accursed City! The Town That Does Not Live! Where ugly, tall buildings rise up around you and close you in. Where zombie-like troglodytes stumble around in the streets, mindless, joyless. I am, of course, talking about… [Solicitor’s Town]!’

(It was the best laugh we got during the speech.)

Responsibility Gives You A Direct Route To Your Destination

, , , , | Hopeless | January 11, 2018

(I’m the idiot in this story. I oversleep and am therefore in a rush all morning. As soon as I’m dressed, I rush to the bus stop where a bus is waiting. There are two different bus companies that use that stop, and their colour schemes are very similar. I’m in such a panic that I scurry onto the bus without really looking at what service it is and quickly whip out my pass. I show it to the driver and then start moving to a seat.)

Driver: “Hold on! Let me see that again!”

(I quickly step back and show him my pass. I know it hasn’t expired yet, and I figure the driver just wants to check everything.)

Driver: “You can’t use this here.”

Me: “But it’s good for another two weeks.”

Driver: “No, I mean you can’t use this on this bus. That’s a [Bus Company #1] pass. This is a [Bus Company #2] service.”

Me: “Oh, I’m so sorry! I was in such a rush that I didn’t even realise this was the wrong bus. I’m sorry I wasted your time.”

(I go to get off the bus when the driver waves at me, indicating I should sit down.)

Driver: “Go and take a seat.”

Me: “But… this is the wrong bus.”

Driver: “You’re the first customer I’ve had in a long time that has apologised and taken responsibility for your mistake, rather than shout at me or claim it’s my fault. You can have this ride on me. But just this once.”

(I was super embarrassed, but grateful for the driver’s kindness, especially when it was my fault — both for sleeping in and for not checking the bus before I got on. Because of him, I was able to get to work on time. Now, even if I’m in a rush, I always double-check the buses.)

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