The first time I ever rode a bus was when I would visit my Grandma. She didn't drive and counted on the bus to take her everywhere. She let me sit by the window so I could watch the scenery, and when it was time to pull the cord to ring for our stop I had the honor.
For a few years before I started taking the train, I was a daily bus rider from the suburbs into Chicago. My friend, Pat, got on about a mile before me and would save me a seat in the back. Every morning we had the same driver whose job it was to get his riders into the city and to our jobs. If the expressway was a hot backed-up mess, somebody up front would pass the hat to pay the tolls so our driver could take the Skyway and get us downtown faster. He wasn't supposed to do this, but he did.
The bus was full of interesting characters. There was the guy that Pat and I went to school with who was an epileptic. He was working at a bakery making donuts when he had a seizure and burnt both his hands so badly in the hot oil for making donuts that they had to be amputated. Another guy watched people sleep and if your head started bobbing, he'd straighten it out for you. The pervy old guy who checked the girls out every morning. It didn't occur to us that we were better than these people. We were just trying to get to work.
Mark and I were discussing the disconnect in society these days, the lack of empathy for the less thans, and even outright disdain.
That didn't happen on the bus. We all paid the same fare, we all had someplace to get to, and when the hat was passed it didn't matter how much money you threw in so long as we all got where we needed to be on time.
On those occasions when weather wreaked havoc on the buses for the return trip, sometimes you would run into a rider from your morning bus and things would seem better........for making your way home in the dark during a storm can be frightening, but isn't that what we're all trying to do every day?