Chasing after buses

I’ve posted before about roughly the same thing that Charles is referring to (ie – bus drivers who won’t let you on after they’ve inched out from the marked curb-stop and out to the red-light). Here were my thoughts on when it happened to me at Overlake TC one time…

It’s a massive pain when bus drivers are so rigid as to sit there stoically through the 2 minutes of red-light, being careful not to make eye contact. And it’s probably even worse if you’re hauling a couple of kids in your sprint toward the bus.

That said, Jodi and I had an experience the other day which changed my perspective on this a little bit, at least for buses while they’re operating in the downtown corridor. I now have a lot less tolerance for those who run after buses that have left the pickup zone while downtown.

Jodi and I were riding the 14 bus last Friday evening to the downtown. We did a driver-swap at 5th and Jax, which meant the bus was stopped at this corner for about 3-5 minutes… no short stops here.

But of course, the instant the bus pulled away toward the corner, up runs two youths cussing and screaming that the bus driver stop to let them on. Our busdriver (a fairly new driver, I got the sense) reasonably did not stop in the middle of the road (we had a green light) to let them on.

However, these two kids were having none of it. They cussed and screamed and kicked the door and pounded the sides of the bus. Total hooligans, and I’d say most of us were rightly glad he didn’t let them on.

But it gets worse.

I mentioned to Jodi that the next stop was only a block or two away, and we were about to get stopped at another traffic light so “if they really wanted to get on the bus…”, it should be fairly easy to do so at that next stop.

Well, it turns out they figured this out. They came running up at the next stop and (free ride area) darted in the back door of the bus. I suppose the bus driver was in a bit of a hard place here, since on the one hand this time they were at the stop in time to get on… but on the other hand, they’d just been cussing him out and kicking the bus 60 seconds earlier.

So now they’re on the bus and most everyone on the bus is (duely) nervous that these folks who clearly lack self-control are among us. Great. I was even a little worried that they might ride until most passengers had cleared out and then cause the driver retributive harm for not letting them on. Ugh, scary to be a Metro driver!

Fortunately they got off the bus about 2 stops later. Unfortunately, they “got back at the bus driver” by trying to snatch-and-run out the door with the ipod of a woman sitting at the front of the bus. We called 911, the driver pressed the panic button, and we all sat there a few minutes ruminating on how much damage a couple of young, misguided thugs could do in just 3 minutes and 4 blocks time.

They didn’t get her ipod, thank goodness. And, as far as I could tell, we were all more “shook up” than hurt. But presumably these idiots did get clean away, running empty-handed off into the night for more thuggery.

Here’s hoping they both got run over a block away. No, I don’t wish that on some innocent driver along 2nd Ave. Here’s hoping they tripped and fell down a sewer drain somewhere near the sound and then floated away to sea. Yeah, that’ll do. They don’t belong in my city. They don’t belong in anyone’s city. They belong in prison.

The whole episode reminded me a bit of the scene in the movie Crash with “Peter” and “Anthony” complaining about how badly they’re discriminated against (white people crossing the street as they walk by, etc). To each other, these two wonder out-loud why this is happening in society today and point out what a shame it is.

Then they decide that maybe it’s because they (Peter and Anthony) have guns… at which point they proceed to carjack someone. Totally unexpected, given the context of the discrimination discussion leading up to it. The whole point is that you’re supposed to feel terrible for implicitly discriminating against these two respectable, young black males, and they’re reminding you of it. And then the very next second they fulfill your worst fears — the very things you were just feeling bad about thinking!

A spot-on movie scene, and an unfortunate re-creation in real life.

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