Sunday, October 23, 2016

Whale of a Job

It's my Friday, and I have my favorite run of all time to end the week. It's a nice departure from my weekday work, and the view from my office seat is often splendid. The passengers sometimes engage me, but today I was treated to a phrase that delighted me.

One stop is particularly difficult to service. It's a temporary one, due to nearby construction. It's usually occupied by legally-parked cars near some popular eateries. As I approached it, a passenger requested the stop. To ensure their safety when exiting or boarding, I cruise past the stop to the curb, finessing my beast into a tight fit. Those exiting thanked me on their way out, always a nice thing to hear.

A young lady boarded with a bounce and a beaming face.

"I just gotta say, sir," she said, "that the way you gracefully glided this traffic whale to a perfect stop was a sight to see."

It made me pause. I guess a bus somewhat resembles a whale. To think of it as graceful though, is a bit of a stretch for my imagination. It's huge, often hard to maneuver, and unforgiving if you mess up.

"Wow," I said, stunned. "That's nice of you to say. Thank you!"

Another passenger chuckled at the mammal reference, but I didn't hear another word. So with a smile and a nod, I glided that monster back into the roadway. One who drives a bus rarely thinks of it as graceful, especially when you're walking back to it after a break and it releases excess air from the tanks in what I refer to as a 'bus fart.'

As if you couldn't tell, I've been a bit down lately. It was elixir to my soul to hear such a creative compliment. Operators who truly care about giving a smooth ride rarely hear praise. Not only was it the last trip before my weekend, but it came with an unexpected bonus. I made sure to thank her again as she departed.

"Thanks again for the 'traffic whale' compliment," I told her. "Have a great evening!"

She turned around just outside the door and added, "Not just that, but a graceful traffic whale. Thank you and have a safe night!"

My remaining passengers noticed my grin as I shut the door.

"Now," I told them, "if I could only learn to dance as gracefully as I drive, maybe I could impress my dolphin at home."

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