Sunday, February 28, 2010


A couple days after the first incident, I was picking up people at the light rail station on Lake street. Drunk and Drunker got on. Drunk was putting his fare in the box. His jacket pocket was at my eye level next to the farebox and I saw a bottle of booze poking out. I said to Mr. Drunk "That bottle is going to stay in your pocket while you are on this bus, right?" He said "What bottle?" I said "That bottle in your pocket that is looking me right in my face." He grinned and said "Yep, it'll stay in my pocket."

Meanwhile, his buddy, Mr. Drunker, is realizing he doesn't have a current transfer. While he is searching for something that doesn't exist, he slurs to me "What time you get to Chicago?" I told him Chicago Avenue was the other way. I suggested he get off the bus and go across the street and catch a bus going the other way. He pours himself off the bus. His buddy, Mr. Drunk, just sat there. I told him "Hey, your friend left. You need to go to the other side of the street if you want to go to Chicago." He didn't reply and I noticed my light turned green. I had wasted enough time on these guys and didn't want to wait for another light. I said "I'm not missing another green light." I closed the door and made the light.

As I approached 36th Avenue, Mr. Drunk said something about when WE are headed back the other way. I pulled into the bus stop and told him the truth. "I'm not going to have some drunk guy on my layover with me! If you want to go the other way, go over to that bus stop across the street and catch a bus in the direction you actually want to go." That thought swam through the alcohol in his brain for a minute and then it took root. "You mean I have to get off the bus?" I told him to get off and go catch a bus across the street.

Mr. Drunk flopped his way to a somewhat upright position and used the handles on the door to swing his way out the door. He swayed for a second and finally let go of the handle. I thought all was well. I was wrong. He took about two steps and slipped and fell on the ice. All I could see were his legs from the waist down. He was moving a little but didn't seem to be trying to get up. He just laid there I asked him if he was alright. He casually said "I'm fine." as though he was sitting there having a cup of coffee or something. Thoroughly disgusted by now, I closed the door and pulled off. My conscience slapped me before I even cleared the intersection. I called the Control Center and told them the situation and requested they check on him. They said they'd send a squad.

Then came what I had been dreading..."Don't forget to fill out an incident report..."


I hate Lake Street. Though most of the people are fun, nice and interesting people just trying to get from point A to point B, it has more people with issues than most other routes I do. I drove Lake street four days last week and two days out of those four I had to write up incident reports. Here's the first story...

I was having a pretty good day, as Lake street goes. Greeting everyone, thanking them as they left. Just a normal day. I had one of the bus groupies sitting in the peanut seat. Hadn't seen her in quite a while so when she saw me she decided to ride my bus and chat for a while. I pulled up to 21st avenue, heading toward uptown. An older man gets on and puts his monthly pass in the farebox and it reads "expired" and pops out. I looked at it and informed him the pass expired on February 11Th and it was now February 23rd. He said that that was the pass he'd been using. I thought maybe he had a new pass that he was using and just forgot to throw out the old one, so I suggested he check his pockets for another pass. He got mad and insisted that that pass was what he had been using. I informed him that it had been expired nearly two weeks and was no good. If he had no other pass, he'd have to pay a fare. His voice got course and angry and he yelled "Fuck you, bitch!" and went and sat down!

I was shocked. I couldn't believe this old man just cussed me out and then had the nerve to sit down on the bus, like I would just blow it off and drive on like nothing happened. I said "You aren't going to talk to me like that and ride on this bus. Have you lost your mind?" I told him he needed to get off the bus as I called for the police. He came up by the farebox and continued to yell at me while I was on the phone with the Control Center. I kept the mic keyed so they could hear what was going on.

Apparently, the old guy realized I wasn't moving and the cops were coming so he got off the bus. Just before I was able to close the doors, he looked at me. His eyes were burning with hatred and he said "I'll knock your fuckin' head off!" I was able to close the doors so I did. I had secretly taken my pepper spray out and had it shaken up and was holding it kind of between my knees. I put that away, too. I called the Control Center back to let them know he was off the bus. They asked me for a description and which way he was going. I sat there and gave them a description as I watched the guy walking away. He was looking back at me, still spewing hatred. I like to give a description as I am looking at the person. It is much more accurate than using just memory. I gave them a great description...right down to his slight limp!

The Control Center asked me if I was alright and if I needed Peer Support. I was a little surprised. I told them I was fine. The confrontation was all verbal. He didn't swing on me or anything. I didn't need Peer Support. I kind of laughed to myself. Did they really think a verbal situation would cause me to be so traumatized that I'd need to be taken off my work to sit and chat with a coworker to get it off my chest? I thought maybe the fact that I held the mic open and they heard it. It sounded worse than it was. True, there were a couple seconds there that I thought he might hit me. That's why I had the pepper spray ready, but not where he could see it and take it as a threat. It all worked out. He was off the bus and I continued on my route.

As I approached 3rd avenue, the phone rang. I pulled over and answered it. It was the Control Center saying they were doing a little follow up and again asked if I was okay and if I felt I needed Peer Support. Again, I told them I was fine. They said that was great and for me not to forget to fill out the paperwork when I got back to the garage. My heart sank. I had a million things to do after work and didn't have time to do a half an hour of paperwork. I told them "okay" and signed off.

I turned to the bus groupie girl in the peanut seat. She always likes to know what's going on. I told her they were checking to make sure I was alright and asked me...again...if I needed Peer Support. I told her I was doing fine until that call came. They told me I had to fill out an incident report. Now I WAS traumatized! Just the thought of having to do the paperwork messed me up!

That gave us both a much needed laugh.
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