Thursday, May 18, 2017

Bus Report #977

Sunny morning, with sunny people.

I waved good morning to the friendly Russian woman, stopped to talk with Joan, who just returned from vacation in Mexico. She urged me to go, said I'd like the dry heat, the food, etc.
I told her I was glad she'd had a good trip, and I kept walking.

The 33 was empty when I got on. "Good morning, miss Rachel," Leon said, drawing out the word miss so it sounded more like 'miiiiiiiizzzzzz' and I laughed and said good morning back, kidded with him a little.

Regular and semi-regular passengers piled on, got out at their usual stops. The obsessively religious woman and her poor little daughter. The mean-face trainee nurse. The tall, stately woman with her wool socks pulled halfway up her calves. The spiky-haired older gentlemen with his stovepipe jeans folded just so above his boots.

The Hayes Street ladies ran to catch the bus, but they didn't have to run - Leon always waits for his regulars.

In the Haight, we crawled up Ashbury behind a slow bicyclist. Such a slow bicyclist.

The giant genie got on at a stop before his usual. He sat down in the front of the bus and began his lotion and beard maintenance routine.

In the Castro, a man wearing a thin pair of white sweat pants over his jeans got on, clutching the front of the sweats, which bulged with... I had no idea. He sat down and pulled a pile of leaves and sticks, and crumpled newspaper, and a bottle of something from out the front of the pants. He spent the rest of the ride carefully wrapping the sticks and leaves in the paper, and shoving everything back into his pants.

All was well until we got to Mission and 16th.

Leon opened the doors and people got out, got on.

A tall man in a brimmed hat (what is it called? Like Gilligan wore?) and carrying a dirty blanket, started to get on the bus.

Leon stood up and shook his head. "No, you can't come on the bus, especially not with that blanket."

"I'll fold it. I gotta get to the hospital," the man whined.

"I've told you before, you can't get on this bus," Leon said.

The man angrily threw the blanket onto the street and got on the bus, sat a couple rows behind me.

Leon stood his ground. The man could not ride on the bus, not after a previous altercation.

The man continued to whine about getting to the hospital, but soon stopped whining - growing aggressive instead.

The sweat pants man looked at him. "I'll get you to the hospital," he muttered. "I'll get you there."

After some more back and forth, threats from the angry man, firm statements from Leon, the angry man resorted to the lowest of insults.

"I'll beat your ass, n____," he said. He stormed to the front of the bus, this tall, angry man towering above Leon, still threatening to hurt him.

Leon tried to calm him down. The man kept lunging at him.

"Everyone get off the bus, for your safety," Leon told us.

We started to get out. I got my phone out of my bag and got ready to call 911. Meanwhile, Leon had picked up his phone to call for help, too.

We all stood there, frozen, watching. I know some of the others were thinking the same as I was - that Leon might need witnesses if anything happened.

After a tense few moments the man got out and wandered down the sidewalk. In the opposite direction a police car was coming by. Leon leaned on the horn and got their attention.

He told the cops what was going on and they did a quick U turn, pulled up by the Victoria Theater and got out to talk to the guy. By then, we were all back in our seats.

The sweat pants man had gotten out of the bus and was now inspecting the dirty blanket discarded by the angry man.

We left the guy with the cops, who stood in front of him, pulling on their blue rubber gloves.

Leon drove to the next stop and pulled over. He turned around.
"I'm so sorry you had to witness that, everybody. Everyone okay?"
We all nodded.
He looked at a little girl and her grandma. He said, "And I'm sorry if that scared you, little one, are you all right?"
The girl nodded.
"That guy has been trouble before," he continued. "I had to call the police on him a few weeks ago."

We rolled on. When I got out, I told him I hoped he has a hassle-free day.
He laughed. "You know, so many people don't understand what we have to deal with on a daily basis." he shook his head. "You have a good day, too."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found you through a link on SFist. Thank you for the sweet (and real) slice of life in San Francisco post. Look forward to reading more of your stuff.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Thanks so much, Caroline! I appreciate that you took the time to stop by.

Welcome to Fog City Notes...


10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful story.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Thanks, Anonymous!
I appreciate you reading Fog City Notes.


9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good on leon for being brave

4:06 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Indeed, Solo!
As he told us this morning, he doesn't want anyone to cause trouble and endanger his passengers. A good man!

9:44 AM  

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