Saturday, June 17, 2006

THE CAMERA MAN

There is a guy a lot of the drivers know and refer to as "the camera man". He tries to sell stuff on the bus...Usually including disposable cameras. Two for $5 isn't a bad deal, but I'm guessing they are stolen so I usually told him to do his business somewhere else.

I used to get this guy a lot on a couple routes in south Minneapolis, normally he rides the 21 and the 18. One day he got on my bus with the usual over-the-shoulder bag and did his little posing as he leaned on the farebox preparing to pay his fare. Finally, he sat down about mid-bus. After a while I heard what sounded like giggles coming from his direction. I looked in the interior rearview mirror to see him holding a magazine at arms length over his head. I noticed, from the pictures on the magazine that it was porn. Everyone behind him had gotten quite an eyeful. I yelled at him to put that away until he got off the bus. He did. Lucky for him there were no kids on the bus or I'd have really gone off on him. In the back of the bus was a fellow bus driver. He was laughing and had that "I'm-off-work-you-deal-with-it" grin on his face.

The next time I saw him, he rode quietly to his stop and got off. I thought it was odd that he hadn't tried to sell stuff. I got to the end of the route and on my way back, as I pulled up to the stop across the street from where he got off, there he was. The stop was suspiciously close to a Walgreens. My guess is that he was out of merchandise and went in to restock. Before he got on my bus, he bent down to pick something up. I thought he had dropped his bus card. When he went to pay his fare, he glided his hand across the part of the farebox you put change in and then over to the card spot and put his card in. The next guy on tried to put change in and noticed it was full of dirt!! I was pissed. I turned around and said to him "You know you are damaging government property ON CAMERA? Do you think that's a good idea?" He said he was sorry and I told him he was finished on my bus. This was the last ride he would take with me. I was able to clean it out enough to make it work so I let him enjoy his last ride with me.

I later checked at the garage and saw he was on our trespass list. This is a list of people that are not allowed on ANY Metro Transit property...No buses, not even in the shelters. For some reason or another, they have been given a warning by Transit Police. Usually, it is for fare evasion or damage to property or something on those lines. The camera man tried a few times to get on my bus since his little incident. I told him "If you want to damage the bus, you must not want to ride on the bus because you can't have it both ways." It's gotten to the point now, finally, that if he sees me driving he just doesn't even try and get on. Works for me!

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