The afternoon Express busses change drivers every season. About a year ago, Express 1 got a truly hateful driver. He was an older guy with white hair who was always pissed off. Let's call him the Elder Driver.
There's no reason to be pissed off on Express 1, but this guy sure was. We're good people; quiet, respectful, professional. It's not like this guy had to be crappy with us because he was fed up with us. He wasn't driving the 358, for God's sake.
If you ran for the bus, he would stop, take in a deep dramatic sigh, then tell you to arrive earlier next time. If you flagged him down, he'd open the door and yell at you for making him stop. He waited for no one, but at the same time he wouldn't take off like other drivers. Elder Driver wanted you to fully understand his frustration at having to pick you up and take you somewhere.
If you didn't have your fare ready, he'd get upset. If your ORCA card didn't go through the first time, he'd get upset. He was quite vocal and fully animated. If traffic was heavy on 2nd Avenue, he'd curse loudly at the BASTARDS in F*CKING traffic. He'd slam on his brakes for no reason, not caring that he just cut someone off and half the passengers nearly fell out of their seats.
When it came time for riders to get off, he'd yell at them. "Hurry up, we don't have all night!" Everyone on his bus would be upset by the time they got off.
He looked a little like a rough, slimmer Kenny Rogers. There was no Dolly Parton, which may have been the cause of his displeasure. He lost his Island In The Stream. That is what they were.
Once I arrived at my bus stop seconds after everyone had boarded. He'd already shut the door. I waved and smiled, knowing what I was in for. Elder Driver stared me down and angrily opened the door.
Elder Driver: [siiighh] "You need to be waiting at the stop when I pull up."
Me: "If it's that much of a problem for you to let me on, I'll just catch Express 2."
Elder Driver: [Stares, hands on seated hips.]
Me: "Really, it's not that big of a deal for me. I see it's a big deal for you. Never mind."
Elder Driver: "No, no. Get on!"
Me: [Getting on the bus.] "It's your job to pick us up and transport us, you know."
Elder Driver: [Grunts.]
When I got home that night I did something I've never done; I filled out a complaint form at Metro's web site. So did many other regular passengers. He was much more pleasant about a week later, so I think he heard about it at work. Elder Driver drove Express 1 for about 3 months.
In any case, Monday night's bus ride was not worthy of a post. The bus was on time and the ride was average. We took the long way around Kent Station, which was unusual but I figured they were doing road work at the corner or something. I pulled the cord when my stop approached, I walked up toward the door.
Elder Driver yelled at me a couple of times back in the day for walking up to pay before he stopped.
"DO NOT EVER CROSS THE YELLOW LINE. I can't see the curb FOR GOD'S SAKE! JESUS."
So I have been programmed to never pay until the driver has the curb lined up. I waited until the bus stopped, and walked up to pay. The driver laughed and said with a huge smile, "Hey! Ha ha! I remember this is your stop from last time I had this route!"
Yep. It's Elder Driver. He's baaaack. And apparently he's on some happy pills.
I'm sure he'll go off on someone, so I'll keep you posted.
This is Kenny Rogers. He would probably make a great bus driver, especially if he sang the stops into the speaker.
(Picture courtesy of allmusic.com.)
You gotta know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away. And know when to run. And you damn well better know how to ride Metro right.