Metro is one of the local transit companies. After work I catch a bus to the train station. Lately, I’ve been on the same Route 36 bus several days in a row. The driver is a pleasant man built a lot like Santa Claus but without the white hair and beard. It’s his last run of the day so he doesn’t dilly dally. I like that in a bus driver.
Yesterday though, I wished I could throw it back. (See what I did there? Caught the bus…throw it back? Oh come on, that’s … well fine.)
Yesterday, the 36 was very crowded. I lucked out and got the seat closest to the door. By the time we left my stop there were people standing in the aisle. I only go three stops before I exit the bus to walk the rest of the way to the station, and it’s mostly an uneventful ride. No so much this time. A couple of youngish women with a small toddler got on at the same time I did. They sat together in two seat seats diagonally across from me.
At the very first stop more people boarded and the passengers standing moved back to allow them room. Then when they were all aboard the driver motioned to someone and began lowering the platform to bring a wheelchair on. I ride the bus all the time and recognize the noise it makes so I knew what was happening. Once the woman’s electric scooter/wheelchair was elevated to the interior floor level, the driver moved back toward the wheelchair area to lift the regular seat out of the way. He made a point of warning me to watch my feet, but I knew that already and since I have long legs I went ahead and stood up so I could be sure I was out of the way.
The woman in the wheelchair steered it into the aisle and started toward where the driver had the security belt ready to lock her into place. Suddenly one of the women across the aisle screamed and then shouted that the woman had run over her foot! I glanced down and saw she was in flip flops. Her foot looked no worse for wear as far as I could see but those electric scooter things are HEAVY! She could have easily suffered broken bones. At the very least I’m sure she was in pain.
That said, it was no excuse for the behavior that followed. The woman in the scooter was maneuvering the chair into place so the driver could secure it and she apologized immediately. That should have been the end of it in my mind. But no!
A screaming match started between the women, each directing blame at the other. The injured woman berated the other for not warning people or saying excuse me before moving down the narrow aisle. The second woman yelled back at her that she should have seen she was coming on the bus (she has a point, it’s hard to miss something that big, especially when you’re right in the front of the bus and there is no obstruction).
The driver looked like he wanted to walk off the bus and at first he refused to move on while they were arguing. The heated exchange continued, voices raised higher and higher, with liberal expletives incorporated. At one point I heard the woman in the scooter say, “Don’t let this chair fool you!” And she stood up, leaning toward the other woman, who was already on her feet. Another passenger got between them and tried to mediate the situation.
She repeatedly talked of forgiveness and tried to calm both women. Without much success at first. The driver had given up and moved on to his next stop. More people boarded; some may have exited out the back, I wasn’t paying attention. I was trying to ignore the acrimonious women and at the same time was hoping I’d make my train. Eventually they settled back into their respective seats and were quieter.
The driver and I exchanged grimaces and I commented that it might be time for a beer. He smiled and nodded. A few moments later he pulled up to my stop; I wished him a good evening and escaped.
Ahhh, life in the big city.