Fantastic Tram Drivers And Where To Find Them

| Melbourne, VIC, Australia | Working | March 27, 2017

(I am part of a large crowd that has just finished watching a movie screened at an outdoor cinema in the city gardens. We all come piling out of the exits and about thirty of us head for the tram stop, my husband and I included. Shortly, the tram arrives, and somehow we all manage to squeeze on. The following are the tram driver’s announcements we then heard over the intercom, all delivered in a flat, deadpan voice.)

Tram Driver: “Those of you who are standing, please make sure you are grabbing on to something firm, so that you are not stumbling around grabbing on to something soft you didn’t mean to grab.”

(We get to the next stop. Cue some awkward shuffling around for new passengers.)

Tram Driver: *flatly* “There’s plenty of room.”

Tram Driver: “Although now would be a good time to exchange details with each other, to avoid future paternity tests.”

Tram Driver: “Those of you who are standing in the doorways, please do not get caught in the doors when they open or close. This tends to produce a loud screaming noise.”

Tram Driver: “Those of you who wanted a normal tram service should have gotten on any other tram but this one.”

(At one point, there is a lull and the passengers’ laughter dies down to usual quiet murmuring amongst themselves.)

Tram Driver: “You’ve all gone quiet.”

(Laughter again ensues.)

Tram Driver: “Those of you who need to get off at the Arts Precinct, or Southbank Promenade, next stop.”

(Pause.)

Tram Driver: “Please note, passengers: key stops are announced for you; however, if you wish to leave the tram please pull the cord, press the button, ask the driver, or say a prayer.”

(Another pause.)

Tram Driver: “I have to ask, where have you lot just come from?”

Passenger #1: “Moonlight cinema!”

Passenger #2:Fantastic Beasts! In the Botanic Gardens.”

Tram Driver: *dryly* “Ohhhh, that.”

(Another pause.)

Tram Driver: “Flinders St Station, next stop.”

Tram Driver: “At least one person has pulled the cord or pressed the button for the next stop. Could you lot please pass that person overhead to the doors?”

(Most of us, including my husband and me, got off there, and there was a small applause and some shouting of thanks for the tram driver. His face was completely deadpan when I passed the front of the tram and waved at him, but he waved back at me all the same. I can’t help wondering if he loved his job or hated it.)

Life Is Stranger Than Stolen Fiction

| Denmark | Friendly | February 23, 2017

(I’m sitting on a bench at a bus stop, waiting for the bus. I am reading a book when more people arrive and start waiting as well. A lady sits next to me and gradually gets more and more interested in my book. She even begins so read over my shoulder. I’m a little annoyed but ignore her. She even goes as far as sighing heavily and tapping her foot, when I’m reading too slowly and she wants me to turn the page. I get pretty self conscious about how fast I read and in the end get fed up with it. I then close the book and make a move to put it in my bag, when the lady suddenly placed her hand gently on my arm.)

Lady: “Excuse me, but could I please see that?”

Me: “Oh? Okay.”

(I agree to show her my book, thinking that she just wanted to write down the title, but the lady quickly snatches my book and stuffs it in her big purse. Stunned of what has just happened, I freeze up and the lady acts as if nothing happened. Everybody else just looks shocked. I quickly gain my thoughts and begin to talk the lady into giving me my book back.)

Me: “Um? Could I have my book back?”

Lady: “No. I need it.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but that book is mine. I can tell you where to buy it if you want… or show you where the library is?”

Lady: “No. This is easier.”

Me: “I own that book! You can’t just steal it.”

(I reach for my book, which is still sticking out a little bit from her purse, but she quickly pulls it away and stands up.)

Lady: “NO! IT’S MINE!”

(I stand too and people around us tell her to return the book.)

Lady: “SHUT UP! IT’S MINE! IT’S MIIINE!”

(She lifts her arm to swing at me, only to be stopped by one of the men around us. She continues to scream and kick until police arrives.)

Lady: “THAT B**** TRIES TO STEAL MY STUFF! ARREST THAT WHORE!”

(Everybody else backed my story up and the lady tried to attack the police when they asked her to return my book. She got cuffed and still screamed at me from the back of the police car. And I got my book back! It had a happy ending as well.)

Tramming Their Faith Down Your Throat

| | Friendly | January 21, 2017

(My boyfriend and I are running errands on a particularly rainy and cold day. At some point we are on a tram stop and are waiting for our train, minding our own business, when a peculiar-looking old lady starts talking to me.)

Old Lady: “Excuse me, can you read?”

(I assume that she needs help with the tram plan, because I have often been asked for help with it in the past, so I just say yes.)

Old Lady: “You see, I need to… I need to make you a present… For Christmas… For you to be happy… It is important… About this book, you know, you do have it in your home, don’t you? The Bible?”

(Having guessed what she wants, I try to back out quickly, but politely, being far too nice.)

Me: “I have read it, I don’t have it, and I’m an atheist. You might not want to waste your time with me.”

Old Lady: “But this isn’t good, not at all! You’re so young! You need to let yourself be saved!”

Me: “Everyone’s entitled to their beliefs or lack thereof, so could we please leave it at that? Thanks.”

(I walk two steps away to my boyfriend, who has been playing with his phone, in order to ask him something unrelated to the old lady. She, however, doesn’t give up and decides to try and convert him. Note that he’s agnostic, but doesn’t like religious zealots who try to convert people on the street or walking from door to door.)

Old Lady: “Excuse me, can you read?”

Boyfriend: *not having heard my interaction with her, he just stares at her blankly*

Me: “He’s with me, and an atheist, too. Could you leave us alone, please?”

Old Lady: “Why? You want to lead people away from God! Why?! You are evil!”

Me: “Not sure about evil, and about leading people away from God. I’m not speaking to strangers on the tram stop, trying to convert people, now, am I?”

(She looks at me meanly, but our tram comes and we get in.)

Boyfriend: “Boy, she was weird… You are aware that I’m agnostic, though, are you not?”

Me: “I am, but it’s none of her business. I know that if you have questions, you’d look for a theologian or a priest, the way normal people do.”

(Seriously, I respect people’s beliefs, no matter what they call themselves, but not when they start hurting others’ freedom, and zealots who try to “save me” are extremely annoying.)

Seated But Not Defeated

| MN, USA | Friendly | November 25, 2016

(I’m hobbling around on crutches after surgery, and my foot is in a plaster cast nearly to my knee. Naturally I tend to plop myself down on the first available seat on the bus — the seats reserved for the handicapped that face outward instead of forward — and tuck my crutches to my side. A woman gets on the bus at the next stop, spots me, and sighs.)

Woman: *very loudly* “WELL, D***, NOW SOMEONE’S GOT MY SEAT.”

Me: *startled, slightly confused, I offer a small smile and go back to my book*

Woman: *even louder* “HEY. YOU. GET UP. THAT’S MY SEAT!”

(I realize she’s talking to me and glance up again. She stomps on my good foot, knocks into my crutches, and kicks my cast. I yelp in pain.)

Person Next To Me: “Lady, knock it off! She has every right to sit here.”

Me: “What the hell is wrong with you?! You kicked my bad leg because you want to sit here?!”

Woman: “THAT’S. MY. SEAT.”

Me: “Seats are not assigned on a PUBLIC BUS. Go sit somewhere else. There are plenty of seats open.”

Driver: “What’s going on?”

Woman: *shrieking* “SHE HAS MY SPOT! THAT’S MY SPOT! MAKE HER MOVE!”

Person Next To Me: “This crazy b**** kicked this young lady and started yelling!”

Driver: “Lady, if you don’t leave her alone I’ll kick you off. Either sit down somewhere else and shut up, or I call the cops and have them haul you off. Your choice.”

Woman: “I can’t BELIEVE THIS! I’m just trying to RIDE THIS BUS AND YOU ARE ALL BULLYING ME!”

(She tried to grab me, but I grabbed one of my crutches and whacked her arm before she could, which made her start shrieking again. In the end the cops were called, and I had to get off the bus to file a report. To top it off, the bus was practically empty and she could have sat in the other seats across from me. I started taking the train after that.)

Getting It Into Their Head(phones)

| Portland, OR, USA | Friendly | August 24, 2016

(I am on the light rail train to work when Passenger #1 gets on playing very loud music on his phone speaker. Obviously, this makes a lot of people very irritated, but none of us speak up until about three stops later when Passenger #2, who is sitting a few seats away from me, approaches the passenger playing his music.)

Passenger #2: “Hi there! I just want to commend you.”

Passenger #1: “What?”

Passenger #2: “I just want to commend you. You’re obviously much more important than the rest of us, but you still use public transportation. That’s very good of you.”

Passenger #1: “What are you talking about?”

Passenger #2: “Oh, maybe I made a mistake. See, I assumed you’re better than the rest of us. That’s why you’re being an a**-hole, right? Instead of using headphones like a decent human being?”

(Passenger #1 told him to f*** off, of course, but a ticket inspector who got on at the next stop made him turn off his music. Passenger #2 was shaking with adrenaline when he returned to his seat and I overheard him telling his friend that he’d always wanted to tell somebody like that off.)

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