There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Monday, September 17, 2007

Corporate sponsors on Driver Appreciation Day

My morning bus made its regular stop at Butano and Sam's Club, just around the corner from the Watt and Wal-Mart stop. Perhaps Sacramento Regional Transit could parlay its stop locations into corporate sponsorships. My bus could become the "Wal-Mart 82," to distinguish it from the "Wal-Mart 23" that drops riders off on El Camino. The front of the No. 82 buses could announce "Wal-Mart, CSUS, 65th Street" going south and "CSUS, Wal-Mart, ARC" when leaving the 65th Street station. In exchange for the corporate product placement, RT could pick up some extra cash and maybe improve the frequency of bus runs.

That wasn't what was on my mind this morning. I was reading my book. The bus had stopped to let off a couple of riders and then picked up a couple. Just another stop. Nothing out of the ordinary. The bus pulled away from the curb and proceeded down Butano.

And then it stopped.

The driver opened the front door and waited. Everyone on the sidewalk side of the bus looked out the window. After a moment, all of the heads turned in unison, matching the progress as a runner approached the bus.

When the runner was even with the door, the driver called out, "Need a ride?"

"No thanks," said the runner. He waived to the driver as he continued jogging down the street.

I've written before about drivers who won't stop for runners. Courteous drivers deserve some recognition. I doubt anyone on the bus was particularly put out by the short delay.

Well, maybe only the Sacramento State co-ed who found herself trapped in the rear of the bus with the guy who chases co-eds. She really needed to study, she told him. When that didn't make him disappear she tried, "I'm having trouble in school."

I resisted turning around so I could watch what was going on. Eventually, the guy got the message and moved to a seat by himself near the front of the bus. Who knows, maybe he's brighter than he appears.

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