There's a strain of conversation I hear often. It's a two part dialogue I have mixed feelings about. A passenger will come up and tell me he likes my attitude or tell me I'm a terrific driver. Great. Of course that's an honor, and warms my heart. Then, he'll proceed to tell me how bad "other bus drivers" are.
It's the second part of this line of thought that is perhaps not my favorite- mainly when the passenger in question characterizes all other bus drivers as a group. Has there ever been a circumstance when categorizing people as "the other" was constructive?
The fact is, I'm not the only operator out there doing a good job. There are drivers whose talents, experiences and observation far exceed my own. I learn from these titans, and feel honored to be among their company. There are also fellows whose apathy makes them a catastrophic embarrassment to the force, and I learn from watching them as well. I recognize it's this latter minority passengers are referring to when they say "other drivers," but I'm thankful when they use some sort of qualifying language to indicate this, rather than the blanket generalization.
"Some drivers suck ass," a customer recently informed me. She'd qualified it with "some," and as such I actually found it more enlightened than another's unqualified "other drivers are lame."
I ride the bus all the time, and it's easy to remember the disappointing drivers, but there are quite a number of above-average operators here. Out-of-towners often comment on this, as it's a contrast to (many) other cities. There's also a sizable count of drivers perhaps not as gregarious as myself, but who are no less competent.
If you're driver is a good one, wish him or her a nice day on your way out. (S)he may not relate to you the value of hearing that statement, but I speak from experience when I say it means a lot.
In the same way that I say thanks to a lot of unresponsive passengers, your thanks may have a bigger impact than you'll ever be aware. It can only help, after all!
11/22/2013 02:57:44 am
Being thanked for bringing people safely to their destination is a salve upon my soul... It means *so* much.
11/24/2013 03:47:20 am
So glad there are drivers like yourself who feel this way!
11/22/2013 07:14:23 am
I made the rookie mistake of bringing my large stroller on the bus the other day. Would have been fine, we were only going a few stops, but of course there was a lady with a grocery cart. The driver was awesome about it. Most drivers are great. :) Always say thank you and am teaching my kids to do the same :)
11/24/2013 03:49:50 am
So great to hear you say that, Julia. Really hope you end up on my bus one of these days! Glad the stroller situation worked out!
12/4/2013 11:49:39 am
Nate, I find that the drivers who port the manteau of "suck ass" are unhappy in their own rights and rarely does it have to do with their jobs. It's sad and Metro has very little power to help these folks. It's an internal drive they have to take on their own. They just need a little help finding the started button.
12/5/2013 02:30:50 am
Rod, good to hear your comments. I completely agree. If I'm having a tough day at work, it's almost always because of my own personal life. One week I was having a difficult time every day on the 10/12, and couldn't figure out why; the stuff that happens out here on the road is always there. What was different about this week? Finally I realized I hadn't eaten breakfast all week, and this was affecting my alertness, patience, and all the rest. Bus driving requires such heightened levels of understanding, anticipation, concentration, and patience, and if one isn't sleeping and eating right, or is otherwise stressed in life, one simply won't have the energy to be on one's A-game on the road.
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