Sunday, October 21, 2007

NOT SO BAD KIDS

I pulled into Southdale Mall on the 6 line the other day. About half a dozen teenage boys got on the bus. I greeted and thanked each one and they seemed pleasantly respectful in return. A few miles later, a guy came up and told me they were being loud and swearing. I had noticed the higher decibel levels coming from them in the back, but hadn't noticed the cussing. The guy seemed genuinely upset so I got on the microphone and warned them about their language and the noise level. They toned it down. I really couldn't tell if they were swearing or not, but I suspected they were. I don't react on mere suspicion, so I just kept and ear open. As I came to a stop at Franklin I heard the F word clear as day and even saw the guilty party.

I pulled up to the bus stop and opened both doors. I got on the microphone and said "Okay, that's enough. You've been warned. Your ride ends here. Have a good night." I sat and stared down the guilty kid in the mirror and he got up, rattled off a few not-so-choice words and got out the back door. I was more than a little shocked. I didn't think it was going to be that easy. He spit on the bus as I pulled off. His friends got a good laugh about that. Then something strange happened. The remaining kids seemed to want to distance themselves from each other. Two of them came all the way up front and sat across the aisle from each other. One said to the other "What, you don't think she'll kick you off if you're up here?" He laughed and continued to egg on his buddy. "I'm gonna make you cuss." The other kid just tried his best to ignore him. It was kind of funny. I could tell they weren't BAD kids. They were just kids out from under their parents watch seeing what they could get away with.

They behaved all the way downtown where they got off. Then a lady came up and said "That was very brave of you." I told her they didn't really seem like bad kids, but I admitted I was surprised how easily the one boy got off the bus when told to. She agreed and thanked me. Before she got off she thanked me again and told me again how "brave" I was.

I thought that was funny. When I think of bravery, I think of the people in the armed forces, or the police or firefighters...not bus drivers!

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