Another Passenger Folly
In yesterday’s post, I hinted at a second entertaining story courtesy of my passengers, and here it is.
But first, let me set the scene. It was a clear and crisp day. The kind of day people pay good money to experience during Florida’s winter.
FYI—For all you northeast liberals: I’m a conservative, and just like everything else I say, I just lied about the weather. The truth is the weather sucks. Also, mask and vax mandates, Joe’s build back better (or for worse) plan, and defunding the police, are huge successes. So stay right where you are, and keep on voting for politicians like AOC and Joe Biden.
Now, back to setting the scene:
My bus is a full fare bus which means $1.50 buys you a seat. There are qualified discounts, but first, you must qualify. We also have free-fare bus routes for people who live in certain areas. For this story, we’ll say that people from Tim-Buck-Too (fictitious) qualify to ride these free routes, but again, the route I drive is not free, so that doesn’t apply.
My route is a big loop, approximately one hour long. On this particular loop, I arrived at one of my stops with an empty bus and slightly ahead of schedule. One passenger was waiting to board, so I knelt the bus and opened the doors.
Big Red, as we will affectionately call him for obvious reasons (he’s big and has red hair), boards my bus and feeds a dollar into the farebox. Then, he continues to his seat as though he paid the full fare. To do it right takes practice because you need to do it fast, and in one swift motion. It’s the first rule of bad ridership. If you don’t do it right, you have to stop, allowing the driver an opportunity to catch you shorting the fare. Big Red was an expert, and as such, made his way to the rear of the bus. He figured that he got away with it again (Dumb driver), mistake number one.
I waited until he got comfortable in the back seat of my 40-foot bus. Why? Because I’m not as dumb as I look and this isn’t my first rodeo. “Excuse me, sir. The fare is $1.50.” Big Red pretended not to hear me—standard operating procedure for experienced riders. But I wasn’t deterred and repeated, “Sir, the fare, it’s a $1.50.”
“Oh. I didn’t know. I never rode the bus before, and everyone said it was a dollar.”
Mistake number two, I know he’s an experienced rider but I played along. “No sir. This is a full-fare bus and it’s a $1.50.”
Big Red didn’t like being challenged like that, so he forgot the second rule of bad ridership; when the driver expects you to come to the front of the bus for any reason, always walk as slow as possible. Remember, the driver has a schedule to keep. But Big Red let his temper get the best of him and charged to the front. “Since when is it a $1.50? I always pay a dollar.”
Mistake number three. He just said that he was a new rider. I ignored this mistake as well and pointed to the front of the farebox. “What does it say?” When Big Red finished reading, he just stood there like a statue. So, I repeated, “What does it say?”
He hadn’t figured out a response yet, so he told the truth. “It says a $1.50 but ….. Oh. Wait. What if I’m from Tim-Buck-Too?” If he was a new rider, how would he know about Tim-Buck-Too? Mistake number four.
I looked him straight in the eye and said, “I don’t care if you’re from Pluto. This is a full-fare bus.”
He shot back with the smartest-ass answer he could muster, “What if I’m from Uranus (pronounce your anus)?”
I’m an experienced driver, and insults like this don’t really faze me one way or the other. So I said with a smile, “Then you’ll have to get off my bus.”
He wasn’t expecting that response, especially attached to a big smile. It caught him off guard because he was trying to anger me and it didn’t work. He paid the 50 cents and went back to his seat wondering what the hell just happened.
Here’s another FYI. Drivers are still required to wear Biden-Masks even though passengers are not. How does that make any sense? I don’t know. Anyway, I repositioned it so it could finally serve a function, help hide my laughter.
By the time we got to the end of the route, Big Red wanted to get off the bus to smoke a cigarette before continuing. The route ends and begins at a transfer stop where we wait five minutes while passengers change buses. On his way off the bus, he stops and asks, “Is it okay if I go smoke a cigarette?”
I’m still trying to hold back laughter, “Sure.”
He didn’t realize it, but the joke was on him and every time he opened his mouth, I had to struggle not to laugh. He saw that I wasn’t angry, and for the life of him, he didn’t know why. The more he thought about it the more he started to worry. Then, he realized that he was physically off the bus and earlier I mentioned something about him having to get off my bus. I could see it on his face. He was really confused and getting more concerned by the minute.
It was time for me to stretch my legs. As I got off the bus, I walked past him and started to make my way down the loading deck towards the security guard. Big Red saw this and panicked. Then, he did the only thing he could. “Driver! I’m sorry about that Uranus remark.”
I turned back, “Why? I thought you meant it as a joke.”
Big Red was at a loss. “Uh, I did.”
“Well, that’s how I took it. If you didn’t mean it as a joke, you’re walking.”
“No. No. It was totally a joke.”
I wasn’t trying to get the security guard’s attention, I just happened to walk in his direction. He looked at me and asked, “What’s that about?”
“I’ll tell you later.” And then, I walked to the other side of my bus and cracked up laughing until it was time to go.
In case you missed the joke, when my passenger posed the question, “What if I came from Uranus (pronounced your anus)?” He quite literally called himself a piece of shit.
A Big Red Piece of Shit.
Sometimes, the hardest part of my job is keeping a straight face.