Sunday, February 20, 2011


I've had this guy get on my bus lately who I haven't seen in a while. I call him the Airplane Guy...let me tell you why.

This guy has some bizarre obsession with airplanes. The first time I saw him was a few years back. I was in a bus stop letting people off the bus. Others began to board and I notice this goof. He's a tall, thin white guy. He had his arms spread like a little kid imitating an airplane. When it was his turn to board, he was standing there with his arms spread wide, tipping from side to side. Standing on his tip-toes, he took a lot of short, fast steps backward. His eyes focused on the steps of the bus and he said "I'm coming in for a landing!" He ran on his tip-toes with little baby steps toward the stairs of the bus and tipped his arms nearly vertical to make it in the door as he jumped onto the bottom step. Then, as I've come to find over the years is normal for him, he sat down mumbling about airports and airplanes as he took a few minutes to find his fare.

Last summer, he was often on Nicollet Mall dragging one of those wire carts around. It was missing a wheel and he didn't seem to notice or mind. I marveled at how he just dragged the cart full of his stuff as I waited for sparks to fly from the corner of the cart as it dragged against the sidewalk.

One day, I was very busy. It was rush hour on Nicollet Mall (in the heart of downtown Minneapolis). I pulled up to the bus stop and was secretly annoyed as everyone seemed to want to exit using the front door. Didn't they see the mob of people waiting to board the bus?? Finally, the people were almost loaded onto the bus and I saw the Airplane Guy. Geez, I don't have time for this today. He was doing his tippy-toe, arms spread, preparing to land routine. I told him he needed to get on the bus. He flew around like the runway was busy and he was waiting for his turn to land. I looked into the mirror and saw a whole line of buses behind me. I gave him one more chance, warning him that we had to go. He didn't seem too eager to land so I shut the door and left. The look on his face as I drove away was priceless. Like I shut down the entire airport before he had a chance to land his plane.

I had been wondering what happened to this guy. Hadn't seen him in a while. Then, just recently, I saw him in line waiting to board my bus at Uptown Station. He didn't do the whole arm thing, just the fast, tiny baby steps as he jumped onto the bottom step. He mumbled something about the "airplane companies" as he got on. He continued to mumble about airplanes and airports as he took forever to pay his fare...but he does always pay.

You know, I've sometimes had a song stuck in my head for a few hours. I just can't imagine being stuck twenty four hours, seven days a week with one topic in my mind! Maybe next time this guy gets on my bus, if I'm not too busy, I'll see if I can actually have a conversation with him...about something other than airplanes!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds like the passenger may be autistic. Does MT train on what to do with that?

6:07 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

No training. We know that, working with the public, we will encounter all kinds of people with all kinds of issues. Our contact is normally for a very short time so we just do our best to deal with people and keep the bus rolling.

3:34 PM  
Blogger JC said...

"He didn't seem too eager to land so I shut the door and left.

That's so funny!

4:18 PM  
Blogger Politics2012 said...

Happy St Patty's Day,Red !

From the Big Red Machine

7:16 AM  

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