The Bus Driver

I reached up to pull the cord above the window, and then rose to my feet as the bus swung around the corner. Lurching like a drunk, I made it to the front of the bus and leaned against the pole while the driver pulled up to the curb. As the doors hissed open, he said, “You have a nice day.” I stepped down, replying, “Thanks, you too,” and then I was out on the sidewalk and the bus was pulling away again.

I ride the same bus every morning to work and every evening home again. The morning bus driver is a lady who greets us with a smile. The evening bus driver is a man who often has a passenger sitting up in the front corner chatting with him as he goes about his route, and usually says “Have a nice day” as people step off the bus.

As I walked the block to my apartment, I thought about the bus driver’s courtesy. I had seen him earlier in the day, as I was walking downtown on an errand at lunch. He had been waiting at one of the bus stops, and hopped into the bus as I walked past. I wondered how many times he had driven his route before I got on the bus at 4:30, or how many more times he would drive that route after I got off the bus.

I realized how often we take people like the bus drivers for granted. When I’m in my truck, the bus is a nuisance – it stops and blocks traffic and goes slow. Yet since I’ve moved into the city and started taking the bus to work, I’ve appreciated not having to deal with traffic or bad roads. I can hop on the bus and open my book or just stare out the window. All because the bus driver is there, faithfully driving his route.

Yet even if he is driving, he need not be polite. He could be an absolute grouch and not talk to anyone on his route. I was impressed at the bus driver’s courtesy to all of his passengers. Most of the drivers I have ridden with are more than helpful and kind. One bus driver even pulled up to a stop and then called to the back of the bus, “Who wanted to catch the #3 here?” The fellow was sleeping in the back corner of the bus, and so we woke him up and the bus driver told him where to catch the other bus that he wanted.

I thought of the many other people who do little things in our lives… the security guard at the office keeping the building safe, the cleaning lady emptying my office garbage every night, the landscaping lady at the university keeping the grounds beautiful, the snowplow drivers clearing the streets at 2 am after it snows. Here’s to all the people behind the scenes, doing their work cheerfully and well.

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