|Before the ice began to rain down.|
While many have the luxury of staying home during a storm, your bus and rail operators along with supervisors, mechanics and trainers do not. Lift drivers are also braving conditions to help those with mobility challenges get where they need to go. While icy weather is a challenge, it does not stop vital services from operating.
Transit is a vital part of any city, but there are many others who risk their own safety to ensure that of others. Police, firefighters, paramedics and ambulance drivers, electric power company linemen, freight train workers, snowplow and de-icing drivers, long-haul truck drivers, doctors and nurses, trash collectors, airport personnel and even people in the hospitality business brave storms to serve the community. We all are the worker bees who get the job done, no matter the risk involved. You'll find the least-paid are the ones who put in the demanding work to provide the most-needed services no matter what Mother Nature throws at us.
All these people, along with those I probably haven't listed here, have to make it to work every day of their week. If not, we're given "time loss." We sacrifice our own safety for the common good. It's our job, one we're proud to do regardless if we're properly recognized by our community. Hey, our driveways and community streets are icy and treacherous too, but we still manage to make it into work.
Professional transit riders do recognize us, and are very grateful. They thank us profusely for stopping in an ice storm between bus stops, just because they look cold and tired. Residents bringing stuck operators coffee and offering the use of their warm home as a refuge while waiting for a responder are immensely appreciated. Then there are those of the ignorant variety, who berate us for being late, even though our wheels are chained and they've watched thousands of vehicles creep by them while they wait for the bus. Once they are on the warm bus, they sometimes see the error of their behavior thanks to other passengers they've annoyed with their rantings.
|The signature of drop-down chains.|
As I began to steam and my Irish temper began to boil, another passenger stood up for me. "Sit down and shut up, or I'll personally throw your ass off this bus. That driver is a nice guy, and he saved your sorry ass from walking any more." I could have hugged him for that. I did, mentally. He made sure to stop as he was getting off, pat me on the shoulder and thank me for getting him home safely.
There's no other message in this post except to thank everyone who braved the recent weather to keep Portland moving and working. My hat is off to you all.