When I was in Line Training, a passenger got on board with a nasty attitude, telling me I was "overpaid and rich." At the time, I was but a nervous newbie, making a whopping $10 an hour just learning how to keep this rascal and everyone else... SAFE. I took immediate offense to his diatribe. After three years of scratching and clawing just to keep my family housed and fed during the Great Recession, I was eternally grateful and proud to be gainfully employed as a professional bus operator. I wanted to slap the loudmouthed prick, but my Line Trainer set him straight, guiding him away from my righteous indignation so I could drive without distraction. There was no FTDS at that time. I was just another newbie trying to make it through training and probation without a scratch so that eventually, I'd be able to earn the top of the wage scale.
Years later, I'm very grateful. I've lived through stories too numerous to remember, and have found a new direction in life. We can all think of things we might have done differently in our past, but it becomes obvious that everything we experience has meaning that cannot, often should not ever, be ignored. Therefore, changing our past, even if it was possible, would deny us valuable lessons to carry forward. My current situation may not be anything I had ever imagined 30 years ago, but I'm exactly where I should be. Life is good. Unlike some, I have a loving family, a decent place to live, and an honorable profession. There is much to be grateful for, and I constantly remind myself of these numerous blessings. That's because I'm constantly trying to improve myself, always reaching for something bigger, hoping to provide the best for my loved ones.
My answers may not all have been what Henry expected, but I tried to reflect my respect for him and everyone else who works in transit. We all have complaints and concerns, but when we walk into the bullpen after each shift, we're equals. When I wave to you "out there," it's a gesture of respect. You might be another operator, a supervisor, trainee, mechanic or rail operator... I wave as a salute to your contribution. It's a demanding yet rewarding job, and I can now understand we all face challenges the Average Joe can't always fathom.
This blog is meant to describe life "from the driver side" of a bus. Sometimes it's fun, others it's difficult. We do a damned good job, in spite of the obstacles placed before us. As long as we have each other, every day is just a bit easier than it would be without the support we give and receive.
In solidarity, I am your
Deke N. Blue