Kindergarten Bus

kindergarten

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?

Chuckles, the Bus Driver

sad clown mural

Will Russell

Chuckles is the saddest bus driver you ever did see
but he isn’t testy, and he isn’t mean
he picks us up at the same time every day
but when you say “good morning,” he turns the other way

I’ve tried to get through to him, Lord knows I have
hoping on a Friday he wouldn’t be so sad
still sullen as ever, he turns the other cheek
perhaps he’s simply mild-mannered or meek

I wonder if I poked him or brought him a beer
you think that would cheer him, or would he think it queer?
of course, I’d tell him it was for after his shift
wouldn’t want him to get in trouble or drive us into a ditch

Perhaps a mug that says “Best Bus Driver Ever” would do the trick
or would that go against driver / commuter etiquette?
What about Bus Drivers Appreciation Day, I think it would be swell
they certainly deserve it, they go through hell

Commuters yell at them when buses are late
we know they’re not to blame, but sometimes haters gotta hate
we could storm Christie’s office, demand the transit system be improved
but Governor Christie, as we know, has more important things to do

Despite his glum demeanor, I hope Chuckles finds joy
perhaps he’s a Rhodes scholar, and is merely underemployed
at least he has a job, we all know that is a boon
so Happy Friday all, and remember, your bus driver has a heart too.