Sunday, May 31, 2009

BOGUS CUSTOMER COMPLAINT

I had this early 20-something girl get on my bus last week. She sat way in the back seat and talked loudly on her cell phone. She began to use quite a bit of profanity, so I felt obligated to say something for the sake of the rest of the passengers. I got on the microphone and made a general announcement to the effect of "We don't mind you using cell phones on the bus, but cussing is not allowed and will not be tolerated."

She seemed to quiet down for a while, but then the cussing started again. I pulled into a bus stop and told her this was her stop, she'd have to get off the bus. She gave a fake "sorry" and I told her my line that I seem to be making famous..."This is not baseball, you do not get three strikes. You need to get off the bus or the transit police will come and take you off." She then stated she had to get to work. I told her then she should have listened the first time I told her to stop cussing. She'd have to get off the bus.

She stormed to the front of the bus. I was thinking I should have snuck my pepper spray out. She seemed angry and not very reasonable. I don't like to pull it out unless I am going to use it. Even then, I like to do it discreetly so it is not taken as a threat. The element of surprise is helpful, too! As it turns out, she just wanted to get a good look at my driver number and inform me that she was going to call in and complain. I told her to feel free to call in. I hadn't done anything wrong, she did.

After she got off the bus, I immediately called the Control Center to let them know about the situation and to ask them to record the time in case she called in. That would make it easier to find on the video. They said they would and told me to fill out an incident report. Bummer. That's like half an hour of paperwork. I wasn't happy about it, but I did as they requested.

A couple days later I got a note from the dispatcher just as I was getting ready to pull out and start my day. This chick called in and lied!! She basically said she was just talking on her phone and I yelled at her so she turned it off. Then she said that I told her to "get the fuck off the bus or I'm calling the police" !!!!!!!! Can you believe it!!!!! What a liar!!

To make it worse, I pulled out and made my first stop at the Uptown station. Guess who was standing there waiting for my bus! You have no idea how hard it was for me not to confront that lying little bitch!! Instead, I used something I recently had in a training program that teaches you to deal with difficult people and situations. I just ran over and over in my head "be the bigger person, be the bigger person.." I chose to pretend she didn't exist and continued to greet, chat and be pleasant with the rest of my customers and enjoy my day.

Needless to say, I spoke with my manager and he said the complaint had already been "handled". He will look at the video eventually, but they know me well enough to know that I wouldn't be cussing out a passenger...especially when the reason I am kicking them off the bus is for cussing!! Thank God for all the bus cameras!!

12 Comments:

Anonymous jo from san francisco said...

i hate that!!! when people LIE like that though they forget it's being recorded. they always turn it around to make themselves the victim though they're the instigator!! karma is a bitch!! ROCK ON JEANNE!! :oD

2:10 AM  
Blogger WebShadow said...

I also hate that! Disrespect to the bus driver is one thing. Trying to get them fired so they might be able to sit there and cuss up a storm is a whole different scenario.

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You handled that situation perfectly, Jeanne. You were wise to keep your cool. GOOD JOB!

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It appears to me that this should have been called in to Dispatch and possibly have a Transit Police Officer respond to the bus as the incident was occuring. When the action of directly speaking to a passenger over the PA system is performed, the announcement can be taken personally. the question is....Was the passenger ejection policy followed?

With 20+ years of experience with passengers, I know how they (passengers)can twist a situation. Follow your procedures and control your emotions. This will keep you (the Bus Driver) and your organization out of hot water.

Just a lessons learned.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Vince Dawson said...

Hey Jeanne! You did the best yoiu could under some very difficult situations. The good part is, you have superiors that seem to know your character and backed you up. The downside is, transit (and motorcoach) drivers have to confront young people that have had absolutely no home training, yet they are our future. Rock on!

1:43 PM  
Blogger Mina said...

The Driver is always on stage...
Thanks for looking out for the people who didn't feel safe to speak up.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yoy had made a statement for all of us! You,re GREAT!

7:18 PM  
Blogger Ops Sup said...

Way to go Jeanne! I am a supervisor at a West Coast transit district and I have the "pleasure" of reviewing complaints and watching the videos. I have found that these lies about operators are more common than one can even imagine. I would say about 98% of the complaints that I get I can prove as being bogus.
Good job!

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IT a good thing you went to TA class ..

9:47 PM  
Blogger Steve Hirano said...

Hi Jeanne,

I'm interested in doing a Q&A with you for my Transit Intelligence e-mail newsletter. Can you let me know if you'd be willing to participate?

If you want to contact me directly my e-mail address is steve.hirano@TransitTalent.com

Thanks!

Best,
Steve

11:43 PM  
Anonymous Bostonred said...

Jean,

This is the way we do things in Boston.

The bus driver thought he had found a loophole in the MBTA’s new ban on operators using cellphones: He didn’t bring a cellphone to the job, which is now banned, and he didn’t talk on one while driving.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

Jo, Web, Vince Mina...Thanks for all your support!!

I agree with anonymous that it isn't always best to direct your PA announcement at a particular person, but sometimes it is necessary. Also, realistically, we can't call transit police for help every time we have issues with someone cussing. We'd need an army for that...it is very common. You have to think if the situation is one you would call the police for normally. If your kid cussed at you, would you call the police? Of course not, you'd be wasting their time. Worse yet, someone with a REAL problem my need them and they'd be busy with BS.

Boston - We can bring them to work, but not talk on them while driving. Common sense. I don't think it's fair to ban them for drivers so they don't have one handy on their layovers. Sometimes you work over 10 hours a day. I feel you have a right to have a phone with you. It could save your life!!

Ops Sup - Thanks! A while back, they considered putting us drivers on a point system. Customer complaints would cost us points. I guess they realized how unreliable the customers "facts" are and chose not to do it...thank GOD!!

6:37 PM  

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