Only a few routes go past either of our three garages, unless the buses are deadheading outbound to the starting point of a run. People don't seem to understand that we actually have to drive to wherever the route begins. Buses don't just appear there. They don't drive themselves. In 2016 that is. Maybe someday in the far future, but I hope not. Conversely, once a driver is finished with a route, the bus has to get back to the garage where it is made ready for the next day's work.
Since I pick up my bus en route as a road relief, I finish every night with a deadhead back to the garage. It amuses me to see the antics of people who are waiting for their bus as I go by. There are no lights on inside my bus, and the destination sign reads "GARAGE", but it's apparent that people expect me to stop and pick them up anyway. As if I'm their special chauffeur. It doesn't occur to them that perhaps I'm finishing up a 10-hour day, and the last thing I want to do at that point is give anybody a ride. Well, except for other drivers... every uniform is a bus stop to me (thanks Lyn!). It's actually a major no-no to give a non-employee a ride while not in service, without permission from Dispatch.
The antics people display as deadheading buses cruise past them is great entertainment. There's one I call the "LORD STOP THIS BUS" maneuver, where the person throws both hands skyward, followed by major stink eye as we roll by. Then there's the "HOPPER", where they wave their hands and jump out into the road. This evolves into what I've termed the "AKC", because one night a goofy-looking girl with a hairstyle resembling a pink pompadour was so enraged at my refusal to stop she looked like a pissed-off poodle who's just learned she lost the top prize to a mangy old blue tick hound. Of course, this was followed by a heartily-screamed expletive and two raised birds. Impressive show lass, but alas, still no ride. So sorry.
Some maneuvers are passive. This one I call the "THINKER". These people understand the drill. As I approach a stop, the person will look up from their phone, start to raise their hand, then actually READ the sign and put their hand down. Or, in an attempt to either be friendly or to avoid looking silly, they'll wave as I go by. This usually prompts me to return my own friendly wave. One night a lady did this, and since I was stopped at a traffic light anyway, I opened the door and let her know an in-service bus was only two minutes behind me. She was very grateful and thanked me for the information. She also wished me a nice evening and thanked me for being a driver. Extremely rare, but thoroughly appreciated.
Then we have the "RUNNER". This is someone who sees the bus in the distance, but is still 100 yards or so from the stop. It's too far away for them to see the sign, so they begin an intense race to the stop. Usually this is accompanied by a frantic waving of the arms and the occasional glance over the shoulder to check for distance. It's fun sometimes to slow down just a bit, giving them a glimmer of hope, only to zip past as they reach the stop and turn to see you pass them by. A typical response is a stomp of the foot followed by a hearty flip off. This is a mean trick though, and I will only admit to doing it one time, after a particularly hard day dealing with horribly rude people. Karmic payback, don't ya know. But I don't qualify it as mean as splashing little old ladies waiting for the bus in the rain.
Someone is bound to give me a hard time about this post. We're often portrayed by the public as heartless, uncaring dirtbags. However, when you consider the source of this unfair description is usually a rude degenerate slacker, it's a wash.
I've started rating the Deadhead Routines on a 1-10 scale. So far most have scored in the 5-7 range. Nothing truly remarkable yet. But I'm waiting for a perfect 10. It's great entertainment, and I have the best seat in the house.