Sunday, December 09, 2007


Something has been bothering has to do with a stranger but not one I picked up on the bus.

I was at the grocery store yesterday standing in line for the lottery. The store was VERY busy. Being a people watcher, it gave me plenty to look at as I waited my turn for my one in a gazillion chance ticket for the powerball. I noticed a nicely dressed man...tall, dark and handsome actually, walk up to the corner of the counter of the service desk that I was waiting in line for. He was carrying a basket with groceries in it. He sat the basket down and loaded the groceries into the plastic bags. He picked them up and walked calmly out the store. He must have felt me watching him because he looked at me as he walked away.

It was my turn, so I walked up to the clerk and said "Did you see that guy? I think he just stole a couple bags of groceries?" The clerk looked in the direction the guy left in. He was long gone. The clerk just said "Geez, I hope not." and asked me what he could help me with.

I don't know if I'm more mad at the thief or myself for not drawing attention to him sooner. I'm not usually one to sit by and just watch something like that. In fact, I saw some guys steal a very large box...looked like a TV or something...from a different store one time and followed them in my car as I called the police. Turned into a high speed chase and they crashed and were caught. It was on the news and everything.

I am ashamed of myself for not doing something. I DID mention it to the clerk, but he just didn't seem to care. I should have said loudly to the thief "Are you going to pay for those like the rest of us have to?" or something.

I know it can be dangerous to confront people like that, but we ALL need to step up and speak up for ourselves and each other. If the criminals think they may be confronted by an angry mob of honest people instead of thinking we are all so scared we turn the other way then maybe some things would change.


I just love German Shepards. They are the smartest dogs. I had a blind guy get on my bus last week with his dog. The first day was strange. Out of the blue, the dog started whining and kind of bucking up like a horse. Obviously, the dog was very upset. The guy and his dog got off at the end of the line and were met by someone in a car. The next day they got on again. This time they got off about a mile before the end of the line. The dog was calm and stood without a command about half a block before they got off. This just happened to be the same place the dog freaked out the day before. I said to the guy "No wonder your dog went nuts yesterday. You changed your routine without telling him!" The guy laughed as he exited the bus.

It reminded me of the German Shepard that whined every day on this one route. We had a long-lasting detour that messed with the dogs' head every day!

Saturday, December 01, 2007


I give other drivers their vacations. I like the variety in the work...different routes and schedules all the time. Sometimes, the regular driver is a hard act to follow. Recently, I gave a guy his vacation and his riders talked about him every day. They told me what a funny guy he was and how he always got them to the train on time. I saw that as a hint...and a get them to the train on time. I managed to do it all week. There was one day with extra heavy traffic that caused me to be a little behind schedule. I flew to the train and got there just as it was pulling up. I dropped the people off a few yards away from the regular stop just so they could make it onto the train. They were grateful.

Last week, the passengers on the the route I was doing were quieter. By Wednesday, they seemed genuinely happy to see me pull up. I assumed it was because it was chilly outside. When Friday came, they were thanking me and asking me if I was their new driver. I explained that I was giving their regular driver a vacation. This older ladys' face just fell. She said she wanted me to be her driver because I got them to the bus lineup on time every day. Then another guy chirped in telling me that he always misses his connecting bus when the regular guy drives. I apologized and told them this was my last day on this route and maybe they should talk to their regular driver. I felt bad for them as they got off the bus. They seemed quite distressed that I wasn't going to be their driver. However, it did explain why they had become nicer with every day of the week!


Had fun the other day on the bus. This guy about 30-something years old got on. He was so excited it was infectious. He had just come from Menards and found the "coolest" gift for his mother. He couldn't wait to show it to someone...and I was the only one there. (He was the first guy on the bus that trip).

He took this thing out of the bag and turned it on and set it on the big wheel well area by the front door of my Hybrid bus. It was Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. He was sitting in a rocking chair reading a Christmas story. His big head was swinging back and forth which in turn kept the rocking chair rocking. It was cute.

We got to talking about Christmas and who I could buy one of those Rocking Tiggers for. I told the guy that my family isn't exchanging gifts this Christmas. We are fortunate enough not to be in need of anything. We decided instead of exchanging stuff none of really NEEDED we were just going to buy for the little kids and take the money we would have wasted on each other and send it to a family my mom met on a recent trip to Africa. This family is dirt poor. They make the sign people on the street corners here look rich. One little boy in this family was so happy when my mom gave him a package of pencils, she just couldn't believe it. Seems they get one pencil per school year and his was almost gone. What a thing for a little kid to have to stress over! Anyway, this guy on the bus was moved by the story and my family and handed me a dollar. He said he wanted to contribute to "the cause". I felt a little foolish and told him that he didn't need to do that. He said he really wanted to and insisted I take the dollar. I did and I told him it would go a long way in Africa. I thanked him on behalf of the African family and wished him a Merry Christmas as he got off the bus.

There is nothing anyone could give me this Christmas that would make me feel better than the feeling of selflessness and fulfillment that I feel by helping this other family so far away and so much in need. THAT is the true spirit of Christmas!


Seems like this happens every year. Some Einstein feels that because it is cold out he gets free rides. This cracks me up! It's MINNESOTA in the WINTER!!

I was driving the 18 during the morning rush hour. I pulled up to Franklin Avenue headed into downtown with a bunch of people, most of them going to work. This fool flags my bus down and then comes up and tells me he needs a "favor". It was cold out and he needed a ride. I told him the fare was $2. He again told me it was cold out. Duh...that's why I wanted to close the door and get the PAYING customers on their way. He went on about how cold it was outside and that is why he should get a free ride. I told him everyone on the bus paid their $2 and it would be unfair for me to let him ride free. I told him that this was Minnesota and if we gave free rides when it was cold out, everyone would ride free for 4-5 months out of the year. Some people on the bus got a chuckle out of that.

I am not heartless,even though I knew this particular guy as one of the regular fare scammers. He was just using the weather as his excuse this time. I offered to call the Transit Police and they may be able to get him to a shelter or something. He dashed out the door.

On a later trip, some other guy tried the same thing. He got on insisting I HAD to give him a ride because it was a state law. I told him that, actually, the law states it is illegal to ride without paying your fare. I tried to tell him how ridiculous that was to think the fares were in some way regulated by the weather. I did tell him that I offer to provide the Transit Police or call an ambulance if someone feels they need one.

As usual, that shut him up. Logic... it's a scary thing for some people!
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