Busses – 11 July 2014

Posted: July 11, 2014 in Dialog, Prose
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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wheel

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11 July 2014

“Good morning, Chuck.”

“Good morning, how are you today? The weather is a lot better than yesterday. We don’t have that cold wind. It should be hot this afternoon.

“I just didn’t have the energy to get out of bed, when the alarm rang this morning. I thought to myself, I’ll just lie here ten minutes longer. Of course, I fell asleep and didn’t wake up for another half hour, so I had to race to get ready.

“I can’t figure some of the bus drivers. I caught my regular bus, twenty minutes later than usual. I normally get downtown between ten and five to six. This morning I got there between ten and five to six. Some of the drivers go so fast it’s scary. Some of them jerk and swerve around corners. I have to hang on for dear life. The majority are adequate drivers, but there are some that hate wheelchairs. Once it was twenty-three below. I’d been waiting about twenty minutes for the bus. When it arrived, some people got off, some got on. The driver didn’t lower the ramp, he just sat there stone-faced looking straight ahead. A fourteen year old girl got off the bus, pulled the strap for the ramp and let me on. I said, ‘There you go, a fourteen year old girl has more balls than this useless fart of a driver.’

I said, “You or some of the passengers must have complained about that.”

“No,” said Chuck,  “two of my relatives work for the bus company. The only complaints that they write are the ones filed by the drivers. If a supervisor is around they’ll write something down when they get a call from a rider. As soon as the supervisor leaves it goes straight to the waste basket.

“One time I got dumped into a snow bank. The bus stop area was shoveled and swept, but the driver stopped five feet short of that area. He lowered the ramp and it hit a pile of snow. A couple of passengers got off and kicked some of the snow away. I drove down the ramp, my wheel caught the soft snow and I flipped on my side. Some big strong women were able to right me and my chair, otherwise I would have been stuck.

“Sometimes they won’t let me on. One driver said, ‘We already got one of you guys on the bus. We don’t have room for any more.’ Of course they did. There are two wheelchair designated spaces, on every bus. Just before the last bus strike, I was at the bus stop. The driver opened the front door, said to me, ‘You’re a useless piece of shit.’ He closed the door and drove off, leaving me there. I never saw him again. He’s lucky I didn’t.

“A very small percentage, maybe one percent, will go out of their way to help me. One driver whose ramp wasn’t working called to a few big male passengers, ‘Come on, this man needs help!’ I was lifted on the bus, and off at the other end.

“Next week, I go to my grandson’s wedding. I’ve got my washing done, some of my clothes folded. They told me to pack my big raincoat — I don’t think I’ll need it.”

I asked, “What day do you leave?”

“Tuesday at six in the morning. The wedding isn’t until 11:30. I’ll be dressed in my old clothes, like now. I’ll go to the main street, pan for a few hours, go back to the hotel, then change into my good clothes for the wedding. I can’t afford to miss a single day without making some money.

Chuck’s phone rang. I waved goodbye. He whispered, “Bye, bud.”

Comments
  1. Mary says:

    Prayers for that guy and kudos to you for sharing his struggles.

    Like

  2. treyzguy says:

    Been there….seen it
    Sad….

    Like

  3. Yoshiko says:

    Does a speeding bus scare you, Dennis? Yoshiko

    >

    Like

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