I wonder sometimes about the operators of the light rail trains, isolated in their cabs, separated from the people they are transporting. Are they deliberately mean, or just uncaring?
Last night, the No. 82 bus pulled into the 65th Street transit center just as the light rail train headed toward downtown was entering the station. It was 6:32 p.m.
In the bus, I could see two people standing in the door. I've been there. You are on the bus and you see the train pulling into the station, and you are wondering if you will have time to run from the bus and across Q Street to the train before the train doors lock.
Only tonight the two anxious bus riders couldn't see the train. They were blind.
When the bus came to a stop and the front door opened I immediately recognized the blind twenty-something blonde co-ed wearing a gray Sacramento State sweatshirt. I've seen her several times on the bus between Sacramento State and light rail.
The woman bounded from the bus in a remarkable display of sightless prowess. She quickly negotiated the step off the curb onto Q Street and then raced across the street, waiving her cane to warn when she reached the other curb.
I watched in amazement as she flew through the station to the train in time to open the car door. Only then, as she stood partway in the doorway, did I realize that there was a young blind man following her. He was clearly not as sure of himself as he cautiously made his way across Q Street tapping with his cane.
As I boarded the bus I heard the woman yell for the man to hurry. Everyone on the bus stopped to watch what was happening at the train.
Just as the man reached the woman, the train doors closed. The woman pushed the unresponsive door button several times.
The mechanical voice of the train announced the train was departing. Bells chimed and the running lights flashed. Then the train rolled away, leaving the blind woman and the blind man behind.
Later, as our bus was about to head out onto 65th Street, we crossed paths with the blind couple. They were walking together away from the station.
"Man, I got them there in time, but they missed the train," the driver lamented out loud.
The driver wasn't the only person on the bus disappointed by Sacramento Regional Transit that night.