Friday, May 08, 2009


Unfortunately, it is pretty rare that other passengers will stand up for the bus driver. Normally, people prefer not to get involved and just sit and watch the show.

Last week, I was driving the route 11. I had just started out from 40Th and Central and was heading for downtown. I picked up a handful of people. One nice lady got on with a large tray of pretty purple flowers that I'm sure she was going home to plant outside. The weather was typical of spring. The sun was shining but there were spurts of fast, light rain occasionally. There was even a rainbow...always awesome to see!

A few blocks later there were two boys in their late teens standing at the bus stop. One had a bike. I opened the door and the one without the bike immediately tried to play "Let's make a deal" with the fare. He told me he had a transfer and wanted to pay a dollar for his friend. I told him the fare was $1.75. He put in the transfer and again tried to make a deal with the fare for his friend. I told him the fare was $1.75. That is what everyone else on the bus paid and it wouldn't be fair for him to pick his own price. I mentioned his friend had a bike, a lot more than some people have. They decided the friend would ride his bike and they'd meet up.

The kid sat in the seat right behind me. Across the aisle in the peanut seat area was the lady with the flowers. The kid started mumbling how he couldn't believe I made his friend ride his bike in the rain. I couldn't help myself. I get tired of everything being the bus drivers fault. I told him that I didn't bring him or his friend outside and if he didn't want to get wet on a rainy day it would be best to stay home. The real kicker was the rain wasn't bad. In fact, there was more sun than rain. Anyway, I stopped myself when I realized how stupid I was being. No point in trying to speak sensibly to a grumpy teenager. I decided to leave it alone and just enjoy the day.

The kid grumbled to himself a little more and the flower lady couldn't help herself. She shook her finger at the kid and said " I know you. You ride this bus all the time and you are always trying to get away with something. You never pay the fare right. It isn't fair to all the rest of us. We pay the fare every day...all day!" I was surprised. I don't do this route too often and didn't recognize the kid as a chronic fare evader, but that lady sure did! He seemed a little embarrassed to have been caught and tried "You must be thinking of someone else." She immediately confronted him further "No, it's YOU. You are always trying to get away with something!" The kid realized he was busted and wisely chose to just shut up.

I wanted so much to chime in and support this lady! I wanted her to know I appreciated her backing me up. As I considered doing so, my common sense busted in and ruined my fun. I decided it would be too much like we were ganging up on the kid and I chose to leave it alone. She did fine on her own. I did give her a big smile as she got off and asked her about her flowers. She was pleasant as can be. If the kid wasn't sitting right there, I'd have thanked her for putting him in his place.

When the kid got off downtown I treated him like everyone else. I said "Thank you, have a nice day." I think that really threw him off. It was actually kind of funny. You could just see that he wanted to be pissed, but I was being so happy and nice with everyone...including him, it just messed him up.

I hope to see that lady again...hopefully, soon. I just want to thank her.


Blogger John Charles Wilson said...

If it helps, bus riders in Winnipeg, MB are just as obnoxious:

Anyone who believes the stereotype that Canada is a non-violent society was never watched a hockey game or ridden a bus in Winnipeg at night....

3:43 PM  
Anonymous David Seitz said...

Hi Jeanne!

I hope this finds you well! My name is David Seitz, and I’m a student at Macalester College in St. Paul.

This summer, I’m conducting doing an oral history research project on the Central Corridor in Minneapolis-St. Paul with bus riders, bus drivers and transit activists. I'm interested in how identity and people's personal experiences shape conversations and policy about public transit on the Central Corridor and in the Twin Cities.

I think your work on Picking Up Strangers is fantastic, fascinating and funny. I would love to connect with drivers who drive the 16 or the 50. If you're interested in talking to me about this project, please email me!

David Seitz
Macalester College Class of 2010

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Diane Lynn Rude said...

I am a 16 line driver and love it, If I can help please let me know, Diane ( ) OR I come to Jeanie,s sight everyday. We also submit stories here from all lines and Jeanie is a great source of info. Good luck

5:29 PM  
Blogger WebShadow said...

Ah, rode the bus again this weekend, but was fairly uneventful. Had a teenager (looked 15, I'm 17) get his hands in my backpack to find a booby-trap.

Apparently, travel tip #1: put set mousetraps in the unused pockets of your travel pack.

This guy stuck his hand in there, hit the bottom, only to yell and pull his hand out with 4 traps stuck to it. I gave him one of those, "You get what you deserve." looks and went back to playing video games with the sound off, though this time while sitting with the pack between the knees.

Also had a youngling (my term for 5-9 years old) stick gum in my hair.

11:52 PM  
Anonymous jo from san francisco said...

that's cool she "had your back". people never want to take responsibilty for their actions and blame others.working with the public is hard it can go both ways having nice riders and stupid annoying riders!!! i wish i could be on the contest to ''find you out":oD

2:47 AM  
Blogger John Charles Wilson said...

Hi, Jo!

I've spent time in San Francisco. Now THAT'S a place that would give Jeanne a run for her money driving a bus!

12:04 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

I have had my regulars stick up for me on the 21 line!! A guy gets on the bus at Snelling and University puts in $1.33 I say the fare is $2.25 He says.. F--- You B---- give me a transfer.. Being i'm somewhat new and didn't argue with an attitude i just gave him the transfer and pressed the dead beat key. One of my regulars stopped this guy in the aisle and told him tp appologise to me because i'm a nice driver that always says hi and have a nice day! The guy just looked stupid and had no clue what to say so he continued to the back of the bus. I never heard another word out of him! I love the 21 line and the strange challenges it brings with it.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

Jane - Yep, it's nice when others stop being afraid and get involved. The losers count on everyone being afraid of them. I like when good people also have a backbone!

Jo - Sorry you are out of range and can't "find me"!! Maybe I'll have to come up with some kind of contest that would include readers of my blog that aren't local. Hmmmm...

John - You actually got on my bus the day after I started the contest. I was sure you were going to say the winning phrase! I'm guessing you hadn't seen the contest started and you haven't "found" me since.

Web - Too funny. Hope it hurt the loser!! Wish you'd have done that on my bus!I enjoy the entertainment...and it would have made a fun blog!!

Diane - You make me feel guily. You come to my blog more than I do!! Thanks for your support. Hope all is going well with you!

Thank you all for your comments. Hope you like my blog!

7:32 PM  
Blogger WebShadow said...

Sorry for the all-too-late post, Jeanne.

One likely doesn't yell unless it's painful, and 4 traps will hurt. I now wish I lived near enough to do so on your bus.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

Web - better late than never...I'm quite late answering all these comments, myself. I took some time off after my father passed away. That sucked.

Feel free to move to Minneapolis, we have openings. Hehehe

8:27 PM  
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5:47 AM  

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