I think you might have noticed here before that I like 'feel-good' stories :-)
I have a couple to share today. One actually happened to me, and the other, I read about online.
Two weeks ago, I had to take a bus to meet some colleagues, but had to purchase tokens at the local drugstore store first. It was either that or pay the exact change, which I didn't have. While walking to the store, two buses passed me. While paying for the tokens, a third bus passed the store. Three in such close succession meant I was going to have to wait a long time for the next one. I know this from experience.
To my surprise, another bus appeared about five minutes later. A few of us had gathered at the stop—this is a busy route—but groaned when the sign said "Out of Service." At that time of day, this meant that he was just starting his afternoon rush hour shift, frustrating for us because he officially starts at the subway station just down the road, which is where we were all headed, but he would drive right by without picking us up.
At the bus stop, he stopped, opened his doors and said, "Hurry! Everyone on. I'm not supposed to do this. Hurry!"
We got on and he drove off toward the station, explaining how high his fine would be if caught for picking us up ten minutes before he started his driving shift officially. My ex-husband was a bus driver when I met him thirty years ago and even then, when the city was less than half the size it is now, he spoke often about what he had to deal with as a driver. Very rude customers. Dangerous situations. There are so many rules that don't seem to make sense to the public, but are in place because of safety issues, and because of restrictions in insurance policies. Let's face it, we live in litigious times.
The driver was wonderful! He chatted away. He decided to take a chance and stop for us because he'd heard on his radio that the bus behind him had broken down—the one we'd been waiting for. With three buses already gone and a fourth broken, we would have been waiting forever and it was threatening rain.
He pointed to one young man and said, "You gave me the finger last week when I wouldn't stop to pick you up. That wasn't nice, but I picked you up today. Please remember that the next time I drive by and can't stop for you. I have rules I have to follow."
He also went on to say that there is so much bad press about our public transit and to please remember this example of kindness in the future.
I know I will. Drivers in a big city put up with a lot. They each have their own personalities and aren't all great people—as in any job—but if they return my smile when I board the bus, then I'm a happy camper. I thank them when I get off and many wish me a good evening.
Years ago, one driver was famous on his short route for the bird calls and bird impressions he whistled while he drove. It was the prettiest, cheeriest thing to hear first thing in the morning.
The other great story I read about recently is about a police officer whose job it is to talk 'suicides' down from the Golden Gate bridge. I can't imagine how difficult his job is, how gratifying it must feel when he succeeds, and how devastating when he fails.
He was featured in a documentary and recently met up with one of the young men he helped a few years ago—a long, difficult negotiation to save him. Oh, what an emotional story. The young man is okay now and succeeding in his life.
Here is their story: