Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Have you ever seen those arcade type games that are big claw machines that you can grab stuffed animals out of? I get lucky on those sometimes and, since I don't have kids, I like to give the stuffed animals to kids that get on my bus. I don't know who enjoys it more...me or the kids. There is a science to doing this, actually. If I have 2 animals to give away and some lady gets on with 3 kids...nobody gets any. If a lady gets on after her with 1 kid, I can't give it to that kid either...that wouldn't be fair to the other 3 kids. Usually just the first kid to get on in any given trip gets one...unless I have another and a single kid gets on. I think you get the idea...if not, scroll back and read it over and over until you do.

One little boy got on with his dad one day. He was a little sweetie. Very polite. I gave him an animal (I think it was a teddy bear) and told him it needed a good home. I also said he needed a name and would he think of a good one for him. (I almost always tell the kids that.) He and his dad sat down and started discussing names for the bear. Eventually, they rang the bell and they came to the front of the bus to get off. The little boy was beaming with pride. He said he had a name for the bear. "His name is 4L." I told him that was a great name and I was sure the bear would be happy with him. Inside I was laughing...that was the route and destination letter of the route I was driving...and it was being discontinued! But what a great kid.

Another of my favorite kids was a little girl about 2-3 who I gave a stuffed elephant to. She pet it and said "doggie". I showed her his long trunk and I explained it was an elephant. Again, she said "doggie". Her mom and I laughed and I said "It's whatever you want it to be." Many months later I was doing the same route and a little girl got on with a very worn out looking elephant. The little girl had grown a little and I didn't recognize her. I told her mom the elephant looked familiar and asked if I had given it to her. Her mom kind of sighed and said "Yes, and she won't go anywhere without it. She won't go to daycare or to bed...no where without it." I thought that was great. The next day I gave her a multicolored stuffed fish.

My little sister, Katie, was working at a hospital in Florida. Their department decided to have its employees do some kind of charity work. Katie always loved how I gave the animals to the kids on the bus so she was going to collect them and send them to me to give the kids. Her boss thought it was a great idea...such a great idea she wanted to give them to the bus drivers in Orlando to give away!! I think Katie got a little mad about that. Oh well, at least it was for the kids...doesn't matter where they live. If there are any bus drivers out there...give a kid a stuffed animal. It'll make you both feel good!!

Monday, May 29, 2006


One day on the notorious 5 line, I noticed a bunch of people seated near the back of the bus moving up to sit closer to the front. This was odd. There had been no fighting or anything. It was actually a pretty quiet ride for the 5. My curiosity got the best of me and I asked a lady who had come and sat in the peanut seat (the side facing seat next to the front door) if there was a problem back there. She shyly pointed to a drunk man in the back and said "That man peed on the bus." Well, I don't know if you've ever noticed, but the floor of the bus has ridges in it so they can prop up the rear of the bus and hose it down inside and the ridges carry the water to the front and then the ridges turn so the water goes out the front door. Sure enough, when I went down a hill there was some suspicious looking fluid in the ridges of the floor heading toward the front of the bus. Needless to say, I tried to make quick my trip to the bottom of the hill so the fluid didn't get a chance to get too close to ME!! (Thank god our seats are on a little platform!!) I called in to get a new bus..urine is a body fluid therefore the bus is considered contaminated...and got to the end of my route at the Mall of America. Everyone got off and I drove around to the layover spot to get my new bus. I spent most of my short layover setting the farebox, signs, mirrors etc.. When it was time to go, I pulled up to pick up the passengers and guess who was the first one to come up the steps!!!! I said "OOOHHHH no, You're not riding on THIS bus." The drunk guy said "Ma'am, I don't think I did anything wrong." I told him "You peed on my bus!! Because of YOU, I didn't get a bathroom break!" All the people behind him started laughing. Drunk guy kept arguing with me and he refused to get off the bus. I told him this bus wasn't going anywhere until he was off it...even if that meant I had to wait for the Transit Police to come and take him off. The people wanting to board finally yelled at him and coaxed him enough that he gave up and got off.

Don't Shoot me!

As with all rookie drivers, I started out on one of the worst routes in the Twin Cities...the 5 line. Since all work is chosen in order of driver seniority, it is the only route that was available to me for the majority of my first year as a driver. It goes from Brookdale Mall through some of the rougher areas of north Minneapolis continues through downtown and then through south Minneapolis ending up at the Mall of America in Bloomington. There seem to be a lot of teenagers on this particular route. That may explain in part why there are so many problems on this route.

One day the driver on the 5 in front of me was running really late. As a result, she was getting her passengers and mine and that caused me to run early. Running early is like a major crime in this job, so I did as we are trained to do. I sat at my time checkpoint to wait for a few minutes so I would be back on schedule. As I sat there, some thug-looking guy says "What are we sitting here for?" I told him I was running early and there was a supervisor across the street staring at me (which there really was). He said "Pull out, now!." I said "No, I am a bus...not a cab. I have a schedule I have to stay on." As I watched him in our large rear view mirror that looks back into the bus, he stood up and put his hand behind the back of his jacket and said "Everybody get off the bus." I left both front and back doors open so if someone felt uncomfortable they would be free to leave. To my surprise, the entire back half of the bus went filing out the back door. I thought this was strange but was relieved when thug boy went out the back door too. I closed both doors and was going to wait out my time when I heard one girl next to the front door say to her friend "Did you see that gun?!" I turned to her and asked "He really had a gun?" because at that point I hadn't seen one. I looked in the side mirror and saw him walking along the side headed for the front of the bus and it hit me...He wants to shoot ME. He was very angry that I wouldn't leave when he told me to. I did the closest thing you can do to peeling out in a bus and called to report it. I'm just glad I heard those girls talking. Which brings me to lesson #1...if you see some idiot on the bus with a weapon...TELL THE DRIVER!!


Welcome to my Blogland!! As my brother said, I am a city bus driver in Minneapolis and have been enjoying this job for just over five and a half years. There are so many things that happen and so many interesting people that board my bus that I thought I'd share the life of a bus driver with those that may be interested. From the transvestite that robbed a store and then got on a coworkers' bus to the guy I had to pepper spray (he spit on my first!!) to the guy with the gun that cleared off over half my bus to the little kid that beaned me with an egg...there seems to always be something going on. I will describe each of these stories later. For now, I just want to see if I can actually get this on the website. Big brother didn't lie...I'm as low-tech as a person gets. Heck, my cell phone doesn't even have a camera in it!! Let me see if this posts and if so, I'll be back with some interesting stories. Thanks for joining me!

Friday, May 19, 2006

This really isn't Jeanne

..this is her brother James. Jeanne is about the lowest tech person I know so I am setting this up for her and writing her first blog to show her how easy this is to get started.

Ever since she started picking up strangers...she's told me a lot of interesting stories. Some sweet, some touching, a few disturbing and some just plain weird...but still...day after day...she keeps picking up strangers. Tens of thousands by now, I'm sure.

Before we go any further...Let me tell you a few things about my baby sister that you eventually will come to find out yourself.

1. She is one of the funniest people I know.
2. Inside her chest beats a heart of gold.
3. She is a Vikings fan. (Go Packers!)
4. That's her real hair color.
5. Even though I have 4 sisters...she's my favorite. Well, at least that's her story.
6. She's a bus driver. The best one in the Twin Cities and likely #1 on the planet.

There's lots more but I think you'll enjoy the fun of finding out for yourself.

Look out world...Jeanne Ree has gone DIGITAL!
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