To drive for Metro means that you have a certain understanding of the humor and tragedy of the people you see. There is a level of empathy that we share through it all. It might be because we are up close and see these people and talk to them, it might be something that Metro see’s in us and that’s why we are hired.
I have made numerous connections with other drivers, from the ones I was in training class, to the ones I see around the base, and the ones I work with loading Orca cards.
When we load Orca cards it’s a 4-hour shift with another person, and you get to know them pretty well, and in all human situations you connect with some stronger than others.
Often these connections are made because of our stories we share about driving, and we find each other to have a similar level of humor and empathy for the people we have encountered.
Some stories affect us deeply.
My friend Juda shared with me today.
“Was pretty much a normal day, I was picking up people, and you know how they are, you say “good morning” to everyone and only a few hear, or say it back, their busy doing what they do.
A middle aged Asian lady got on my bus, she was dressed professionally, clean, her body language was bent over, and a bit timid, then I noticed she had a very bad clefted lip, it went as far up into her sinus area, I said “good morning” to her as I looked her in the eye, I read something in her eyes that seemed she didn’t get recognized often, she said “good morning” back and went to a seat in the front, and put her head down immediately. I was taken by her body language, she seemed to hide, It made me think of the situation she must be in, kids don’t have filters and ask their parents why she looks like that, and lets be honest, not all adults are kind and their reactions of disgust must hit her hard. She must have had to deal with this her whole life. Why, I wondered, here in the US would someone have to have this situation… and other countries people are shunned….
She came up to me when we came to her stop, she thanked me for saying “good morning”
I looked her in the eye and said, your welcome, my eyes acknowledged her, we connected.
She has a problem she lives with everyday with no relief, she never gets away from it.
It helped me see the difference from a problem, and a situation. that I have no real problems, I have situations.
I changed that day, I think of her when issues come up and it helps put it in perspective, I share this with other drivers.
We have reasons, a purpose in life, I’m not sure what these things are, but sometimes seeing something and feeling something that connects us makes sense of things.”
I took in his story, asked if I could share this with you.
He said, “please do, it changed me”.
Her story is ongoing, and we witness others who’s problems are ongoing or develop.
On 3rd and Madison a middleaged man first scanned his card with me sometime in July, I remember because he was particularly friendly and talkative and liked a womans dog that was shaking because of all the noise going on at the bus stop. after that, he was gone a few weeks then appeared again, but missing his right arm.
His short sleeve hid the length of what was left and he didn’t say hello back or say a word as I scanned his card.
Now during the second week of September, he has appeared again with an artificial arm. He didn’t scan his card this time nor did he interact with anyone, including the dog, who is still scared by all the noise at a bus stop.
Which brings me to Gus.
Gus is a lab mix who was rescued from a kill shelter in Texas.
Gus just met his forever home partner at the Sea Tac airport today and on his way to his new home by bus. Gus is over 12, black fur, grey muzzle, just a tad overweight and a bit arthritic. His front teeth are missing from chewing on a chain link fence. He has scars on his nose, legs and ears that are believed he received from being a bait dog.
Gus seems to know his life has taken a turn for the better and loves that people are saying hi to him. He loves his new life partner as she shares with everyone his story and how she met him for the first time at the airport and he hugged and cried when he met her. She is still flushed, his tail hasn’t stopped wagging, Gus and the people around him know that from today on, his life is going to be awesome.
Seattle is a large city, people coming and going from all parts of the world, all stages in life, all of us have stories that begin, develop, continue then end. Bus stops are like frames from Zoetrope’s
One piece that is part of the story.