It was another fine morning in my time as a bus driver. I was doing my turn doing early mornings and was getting tired. It’s harder than you think getting up at 3am for a week. The morning had passed without much of a problem except for the usual thing with getting stuck in the rush hour traffic but I had got passed that and was now in the darkness before the 9:30am off peak and OAP pass time. This is the time when we drivers can usually take a moment to collect our thoughts and catch up any time we lost in the rush hour.
I was sitting quietly at the inner terminal point awaiting my time to leave when a gentleman that I would describe as “on edge” boarded my bus. He didn’t say anything, just placed his fare in the chute and took the ticket and sat down. I checked my running board and saw that I had another two minutes to go before I had to leave so I got my diary out and started to write down my duties for the next few weeks. This is always a good thing to have just so you know what you are doing. It makes it easier to plan things.
As I was writing them down I became aware of a tapping noise from the passenger compartment. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw the gentleman that had just got on was tapping his foot on the floor and looked very annoyed. I tried to ignore him but the tapping just continued. Eventually it stopped and he came up to the cab and demanded “when are you leaving driver?” I checked the time and then my running board and very politely informed him “In about 3 minutes sir” it would appear that that was not the answer that he was looking for and all hell broke loose.
“That’s not good enough!” he hollered “I need to be here” points to map location that’s a good half hour away “by 9:30”
Oh god, I thought. How am I going to deal with this? There is a small problem with what he said. He needs to be there at 9:30am and it is now 9:20! He is not going to take this well. Ah well, deep breath in and go for it. “I’m very sorry sir but I wont be getting to that location until about 10am”
While I had prepared myself for the usual torrent of abuse nothing could prepare me for what happened next.
The man flipped his lid. He went nuts. He was screaming and shouting abuse at me, banging on the cab door trying to get at me. He was punching the windscreen and I actually thought that he would do himself and/or the passengers some injury. I tried to calm him down but he was not going to listen to me and I was not going to get out of the safety of the cab. I was stuck and this guy was getting worse and worse. Then I remembered the bandit alarm. It was worth trying it. I reached down and flipped the switch. Lights flashed and the siren blared out. Good job that there were two local police officers walking down the road near my bus. They came over to see what was going on and spotted the man. One of the officers somehow managed to get himself inserted in the very small gap between the cab door and the man and very quickly moved him further away so he could talk to me and get the story on what was happening.
While I was explaining what had lead up to me hitting the switch I could hear the man arguing with the other officer about being removed from the bus and then heard him yell “if you don’t let me get on that F****** bus I’ll f****** slap you” Yes he actually said that to a police officer. BAD MOVE!! The officer warned him but it was too late. The man swung and BANG! The officer had caught the mans arm and used his own momentum to twist him around and push him face first into the bus shelter. The officer then started to apply the handcuffs and read him his rights.
Now you have to remember that all this happened in the space of about 3 minutes.
I looked down at the clock and then said to the officer “Erm I need to get going here”
“Oh no problem” he said with a smile “We will probably just arrest him for disturbing the peace or something like that and we don’t really need you for that”
“Thanks for your help” said I
And with that I was on my way. I couldn’t resist a look in the mirror to see what was happening to the chap though. He was being led, in handcuffs, to the police station. That caused me to smile. If he had just accepted the fact that he had mistimed his journey and perhaps called and let whoever know that he was going to be late he wouldn’t have been in such a bad mood. As it happened he was going to be very late that day.