photo – Howard County Library System
Every morning, I turn on CBS news to check the weather and see what horrors have ensued while I was asleep. The fun part of the morning is John Elliott, the perky meteorologist who lets us know it’s “hug a squirrel day” or “eat peanut butter day”: he must have a special book he looks these things up in. Then there’s Alex Denis with the “Now Trending” segment. She shows us cute youtube videos of animals, children and adults doing the darnedest things and simple acts of kindness.
In the spirit of “Now Trending,” I want to share with you my morning news which I feel is headline-worthy (at least to fellow commuters). It happened on the NJ Transit bus when the driver said, “If you have an empty seat next to you, please raise your hand.” That’s something a teacher would say to her kindergarten class. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The bus driver was quite friendly and I know she didn’t mean to sound condescending. A lady across from me on the other side of the bus sat alone with her tote bag but didn’t raise her hand. Deliberate non-cooperation. For shame. Hey, we’re all in this together, New Jersey commuters. “Jersey Strong,” as Governor Christie says. After all, he’s always looking out for his fellow humans. Maybe she’s a germaphobe, but if that were the case, she wouldn’t be riding the bus at all—it’s filthy!
Back to our bus driver. The drivers should (hate that word—so laden with negativity and dogmatism, but nevertheless) be keeping track of how many passengers have boarded, so the showing of hands would not be needed. In my over 7 years riding the bus, no driver has ever asked us to raise our hands. But there’s a first time for everything, right?
After she took note of the raised hands and more passengers boarded, she said, “Thank you.”
You see, that makes all the difference. Thank you. She asked us to do a thing, and some did, some didn’t, and she thanked us. A little civility goes a long way. That makes it trend-worthy.
As for the lady who didn’t raise her hand, she reluctantly let a stranger sit next to her. As she moved her tote bag from the seat and placed it onto her lap, her face scrunched like a balloon losing air. Did she really think she could hog two seats during rush hour? Just plain rude.
Now, what’s trending with you?