Sunday, July 02, 2006


I've been driving the bus over five and a half years now, and I've only had to use my pepper spray one time. That's not bad. I'm just glad the stuff worked or I might not be here right now!

I was driving the route 21 back from downtown St. Paul to south Minneapolis. I was actually on the mellow side of the route...In St. Paul. I picked up a bunch of people on Snelling and University Avenues. One guy got on, put in a dollar (during rush hour, no less!) and DEMANDED a transfer. Now, I may be a female but I am really not easily intimidated. I told the guy the fare was $2. He said he didn't have another dollar and again demanded a transfer. Though my patience was wearing thin, I still tried to be nice. I told him I would give him a ride, but that he could not have a transfer without a full fare. Usually at this point the person forks over the money they were just trying not to spend and I give them a transfer and all is well. Not this time. The guy started to make a scene and kept demanding that I give him a transfer. I am sooooo not the one to try and punk...I had said no and there was no way I was going to let him bully me into changing my mind.

By this point, he had called me an F'ing white B ...I was done. About that time though, someone came up and paid his fare (I HATE when people do that...that is why some of these losers cause a scene in the first place...They know someone will pay for them just to keep the peace). I wasn't having it. I had no choice but to give him a transfer, so I did. I didn't have to take the verbal abuse, however, so I told him "Here's your transfer. Now get off the bus. You aren't going to disrespect me like that and ride on my bus." He looked at me like I was crazier than he was. I just glared at him and sat there with the door open. He stepped down one step and I thought this was going to be easier than I had expected. Then he turned around with these psycho eyes and SPIT!!! That is sooooo gross! Luckily, I was wearing glasses. Some got on them and the biggest glob landed on the window next to my left shoulder. Knowing there may have been a confrontation coming, I already had my pepper spray in my hand but was holding it so he didn't know it. I feel to put it out there in the open is more of a threat and I don't want to threaten anyone, but I do want it ready when I need it. I pointed at his face and just kept spraying. I must say, it was a pretty darn good shot for a first time. Got him right in the eye and all over his face.

He stepped backwards off the bus and I quickly closed the door. He grabbed his shirt and started wiping his face and eyes (BIG mistake!!). Unfortunately, I was sitting at a red light so I couldn't just drive away. I did fake him out though by pulling up a couple feet. He must have thought I was driving away so he took off running blindly (literally) down the street. As required anytime we use our pepper spray, I called the Control Center and told them what happened. I thought it strange when they asked me if I needed any medical help. I told them I was fine. Then, about 2-3 blocks later I told them I would have to pull the bus over. My eyes started pouring like waterfalls. Everyone on the bus started coughing and gagging and opening windows. That stuff is strong!

I got everyone on the next bus. The police came and when I looked in their car I was surprised to see he wasn't in the back seat! Not thinking rationally, I told the cops to give me their car and I'd be right back...I thought I knew where he would be. They kind of laughed and said I couldn't take their car. That brought me back down to reality, I was just a little excited and wanted to catch the guy...Even if I had to do it myself. Instead, I gave them a description and told them where I thought he would be (in the bathroom of the restaurant near where I sprayed him...I knew all he'd be thinking about was water to flush out his eyes). As I described him, I noticed the cops looking at each other funny so I asked "what? what?". Turns out the same guy attacked another female driver who I happen to know.

I think the cops were more upset about it being two FEMALE drivers than anything. They were racking up the charges on the guy. It is a felony to assault a bus driver. (Technically, we are government employees because the buses are funded so highly with government money.) So he was looking at 2 felony assaults, 1 felony for interfering with public transportation (everyone had to get on a different bus...Messing up all their schedules) and 1 misdemeanor fare evasion.

The good news is, I was talking to a transit officer a month or so later and learned that they caught the guy. WOO HOO!! The transit officers are regular police officers (not like security guards or something) so they have all the great connections and computer info...I'm sure the video from the bus itself helped. I would like to credit the officers though. They do fantastic work and I think I speak for many of my fellow bus drivers when I say they are greatly appreciated. I know I wouldn't want their job (they tell me the same thing!) so I am glad that they do it...We need them!


Anonymous Aaron said...

Insane, I can't believe your passengers didn't intervene a little bit more. What this world needs is more heroes, sounds like you were the only one on that bus.

spit...seems that guy wasn't hugged enough as a child.

Anyways i should get back to work, thanks for the read =)

11:30 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

Thanks for reading! And thanks for your comments, they are very appreciated. It makes the site a little more personal...not like I am just writing to outer space or something.

10:39 PM  

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