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February 22nd, 2019

So on my way back home today on the line 9 bus, this bearded dude with two boxes of diapers with him got on after me. I went to the back because he had been smoking at the bus stop and I wanted to be as far from him as possible. So I missed the start of whatever it was that happened between him and the driver.

The part I first remember is bearded dude sitting down and turning his head when the driver said something to him. I could tell the driver was talking to him, and I was paying attention now because I was impatient to go, and the driver seemed to be wasting time. Then bearded guy (to be referred to from now on as BG) said - in a confused tone - something to the effect of "You're kicking me off the bus? Why?" Some answer I couldn't hear was given, and BG said something like "You called yourself a jerk, and I agreed. How is that grounds for expulsion?"1 Some reply was given, which given the body language of the driver did not look positive. BG repeated his protestations. Rinse, repeat, between the two of them for about five minutes. Then the bus driver picked up the phone thingy that goes straight to dispatch, probably to call the Trimet police (the people Alex likes to refer to - in the privacy of our own head - as "turkey bacon"2), and BG - who had up to that point been pretty calm considering circumstances - starts to protest that he had to get to his kids and get them to a shelter so they don't freeze to death. (At this point I realize that - oh yeah - he does kind of have a faint "homeless" vibe to him.)

Now in the bus driver's situation, what would you do? I may not have all the context, but given the normal, everyday way BG sat down and how calm he was up to this point, I'm guessing the appropriate response would have been to sigh and let the matter drop, and just let the guy ride the bus.

But I think you can tell by now, from context, that this is not what the driver did. Nope, in the face of a man basically pleading for leniency for something that likely wasn't a big deal to begin with for the sake of his children and their lives, the bus driver's response to this was to double down on his insistence the guy get off the bus. There was a little more back and forth on this point, but BG finally got frustrated enough that he gave up and got off.

Now, I may not know what started all this, but unless BG pulled a knife on the driver or physically attacked him or was drunk - and the evidence says none of these things were the case - then nothing else justifies kicking a man off the bus who is pleading for the lives of his children. Sure, he can just wait 15 minutes for the next bus, but if they're in a situation where he's that worried about their safety, time might be very much of the essence.

While I had been on the fence before that, once that happened I was fully on BG's side, because even if BG's version of what started the exchange was wrong, it looked to me at least like the bus driver was another cis white man whose fragile ego was so damaged by someone calling him a jerk that he graduated to heartless asshole in retaliation.

So, Mr. Bus Driver, if you weren't a jerk at the beginning of that exchange, you sure proved yourself a grade-A asshole by the end of it. I hope that guy's kids are okay and that the bus driver gets fired or sick with the measles.


1 = Said much less eloquently than that.

2 = Because he already calls rent-a-cops "tofu bacon" because they're fake pigs, but the Trimet police have enough clout to give you fines and to involve the real cops if need be. Because they have more power than rent-a-cops and less power than regular cops, they're not as fake as tofu bacon. Thus, "turkey bacon."

This was cross-posted from https://fayanora.dreamwidth.org/1427299.html
You can comment either here or there.

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