Saturday, 18 December 2010

The Season Of Goodwill Overrules Grumpy Bus Driver Syndrome.......Eventually

"I'm well wrapped up today, I am," one of the pensioners greeted me at the first stop on the Vallium Run. She needed to be. The promised ten inches of snow had not materialised. Something akin to the Alaskan tundra had, however.

It was minus something low when I had arrived at the depot. The cold had not put a fellow bus driver in a very good mood. He was grumpy at best, and descended towards being thoroughly pissed off as the first light of morning began to glow. The reason was that the last driver had not cleaned out the bus and so he had hurriedly grabbed a brush and was sweeping out the vast array of sweetie papers from the last school run.

Having accused every driver who entered the depot, he wandered off to his bus, head shaking, eyes fixed firmly on the ground, muttering "Fookin' this", "Fookin' that" and "Fookin' lazy .....". He jumped into the seat, slammed the door shut, revved the engine and slithered on the depot forecourt with the back end lurching wildly from side to side and disappeared in a cloud of snow and ice down the main road.

Yesterday I had come across another grumpy bus driver who had lost it altogether, slammed on the brakes, got out of the seat, walked down the interior to the offenders who were misbehaving and yelled:

"I've had it up to here..........." before berating them for a full three minutes. The situation wasn't helped by another bystander who joined in and finished the diatribe by saying:

".......and if you continue to do this, you will have to deal with me, and you wouldn't like that."

The bus was silent, apart from the gurgle of the vintage engine. Everyone had been stunned into silence. The old school bus adage of 'keep 'em hot in summer and cold in winter' did not seem to work on this occasion as the heaters were either not on or didn't work and the windows had ice forming on the insides.

The driver returned to the driver's seat, rammed the accelerator pedal. The vintage engine erupted into life and went from the gentle gurgling sound of an old bus, to something that sounded like a World War 1 tank. It again disappeared in a cloud of snow and ice.

Washington Irvine was right when he wrote: "Christmas! Tis the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial fire of charity in the heart." For the very next day, the same bus driver on the last school bus trip before the holidays had gone to the trouble to give the children individually wrapped parcels of sweeties.

It really is the season of goodwill - even on the buses.

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