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Deacon Who?

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(Note: Ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are not necessarily shared by the transit agency I work for. This is simply an expression of free speech while describing the work bus operators perform.) I have been (and called) many things in this life. Most of all, I'm a writer who happens to drive a bus. In May of '13 I thought it would be fun to write about my job. As a direct result of this blog, I published a book in November of 2017 called "JUST DRIVE - Life in the Bus Lane" that is available on Amazon. I write to provide insight as to what it's like on a bus... From The Driver Side. Thank you for reading!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Broken Promises and Wounded Souls

Thanks to the dedicated souls of Maintenance
who work so hard to keep us rolling.
They constantly earn my respect!


Management assured us that turning on the microphones and expanding the camera view on the operator's seat would not lead to spying. They promised that when investigating an incident or complaint, the scrutiny would be only on the time of the incident.

They asked us to trust them. We did. 

I heard an operator say he was recently called in to speak with a manager about a complaint, and the meeting devolved into other times in his shift during which he supposedly did something wrong. Five day suspension.

"I had to drive Uber to make up for the loss in pay," he said, shaking his head.

This isn't the first time I've heard such a tale. Maybe management has forgotten its promises. We have not.

In addition, I also learned those tasked with reviewing data pack information were caught at Center Garage spying on operators outside of the agreed timelines. Somebody complained. Soon after, the staff was moved to a location where its activity could not be so easily witnessed. Management has proven once again, it will do what it wants to the detriment of its most valuable employees, without fear of reprisal. It simply cannot be trusted to do the honorable thing.

Morale is at an all-time low. Those who run our transit agency have NO oversight. They change Standard Operating Procedures on a whim, and seem hell-bent on suspending and firing honored veterans. Rather than respectfully supporting those who make their own jobs possible, their actions are confusing at best, nefarious and injurious at worst.

Those responsible for these severe indignities should be punished. We consistently exceed impossibly high standards, while those whose main goal should be supportive in nature, are allowed to run roughshod over us.

This behavior must stop.

If we had the right to strike, these injustices would slither into the Willamette River with the remainder of Portland's dirtiest mistakes. We should all petition the Oregon Legislature to restore our legal right to strike. This is mine.

We have had several administrations whose actions have wounded a devoted family of professionals. It's time for our family to rise up against this mountain of injustice and eradicate it forever. Only then is it possible to regain the heights of acclimation our system once earned around the globe.

Once again, I refuse to accept the false show of "support" on Transit Worker Appreciation Day '21. To allow management's phony declaration of admiration would be a grave error of weakness. We must unite  for the noble sake of our collective honor. We have a tradition of over 100 years of service behind us; they have 50 years of constant blunder and plunder.

Management and the Board stubbornly refuse to bend in appreciation during contract negotiations. Given our Herculean efforts and sacrifice over the past year of pandemic, fire and ice; any attempt to placate us with candies, fruit and broken trust highlights its utter contempt for those who make transit work.

We cannot trust them to suddenly change for the better. They have shown their hand plainly, with too many slaps in our collective face. It is time we become the change we need.


In solemn solidarity,

Deke N. Blue


Saturday, February 20, 2021

Part Two - What Matters Most



Deke's Note: Some of you might be thinking, "Has Deke finally lost his mind?" Perhaps it was lost long ago, but I keep on because I cannot believe this is how things should be. It's just an inner flame which has always smoldered within, urging me to argue against ridiculousness. Many of you agree, some maybe not, that transit could be better if an actual front line worker was at the helm. Some of you have actively argued against my quest given a lack of "managerial" experience. I get it. But still, my devotion is more to you than to any personal ambition. I'm tired of our being disrespected and held down when our efforts make their jobs possible. If YOU won't take this step, then I MUST. It stems from my parents' beliefs that bullshit can be overpowered with common sense and dedication to honorable principles. If we allow the current situation to continue, we might as well consent to irrelevance. I refuse.

* * * * *

How do we move forward with a fresh face at the helm? Hire one who has not risen through the ranks of Corporata. It begins with a thorough shakedown of the status quo. It would be a massive shift from top-down to bottoms-up, leaving the metropolitan populace with more questions than answers at first.

We are not beings accustomed to radical change. We have lost our collective ability to adapt to massive shifts in what has become normal. This past year has challenged our collective sense of what should be versus what is. We're more adaptive than we give ourselves credit for. Instead of fearing such a massive shift in leadership, I ask you to instead consider it could work. 

You Know Your Job Best

As GM, I would surround myself with many of you who consistently trumpet innovation. Initially, I would leave the regulatory to the bureaucrats as I learn its intricacies. It may seem risky, but I learn quickly. I can smell bullshit miles distant. My main goal would be to re-structure the wheel and immediately begin mending the fences between management and union membership. How, you ask?

I believe the most pressing issue is R-E-S-P-E-C-T. First, immediately moving from a ceremonially-distanced office, my place of business would revert to the Garages. I would move from each location daily, opening my door to those who have been distanced from "leadership" for decades. Since transparency is the greatest way of instilling trust and earning respect, my goal would be to roam amongst those who roll wheels. I would encourage people to speak up about what they believe could help us all, and study each suggestion. Many would be implemented immediately, others given every opportunity to become reality. I would hire several front line workers to replace those currently above us who have stumbled. 

Most important, I would not, could not, leave the union which represents us. I would insist dues be deducted from my paycheck, therefore keeping me part of an institution which has long outlived the transit agency by 50+ years. This would demand my focus be upon those whose dedication makes non-union jobs possible in transit. It would make me even more accountable to the ideals I present here: total restructuring of the transit wheel.

A major concern is the current model of "Customer Service". It places all the weight on front line workers, without the slightest concern for their authority or safety. If a passenger becomes incensed with an Operator's request they follow the oft-forgotten Code of Passenger Conduct, they call in a complaint. That complaint is sent to the assistant manager at the garage where the line/train originates, then to the operator in question. Sometimes, the wrong operator receives the complaint. There is little oversight here. Their time is wasted, the Station Agent has to find an operator to fill the run during the meeting with management, and there is a considerable waste of money. Adding frustration to an already-stressed human being, who ultimately learns they weren't even the person in question, it's a silly-assed way of dealing with issues. That's only one instance of how complaints are treated.

It would be best if Customer Service included a full-time, experienced Operator on rotation in the call center. This department should be given full-investigatory power to look at tapes and listen to audio, to determine who exactly was driving at the time. They should be allowed to contact the complainant during the investigation. If complaining passenger is found to be misrepresentative, uneducated as to transit code, or simply lacking in common sense, the complaint should be turned into a teaching moment. Before any complaint is received by an Operator, it should be fully-investigated as to accuracy. This would eliminate the common "Bullshit!" response by an Operator. We all know when we screw up and when we are simply insisting on passenger compliance. 

If a complaint is found to be false or a misunderstanding of transit reality, it should fall upon Customer Service to call the complainant, educate them on the rules of transit and thank them for calling. Period. If for some reason a complaint is determined to warrant Operator interaction, it should be done from a less-drastic point of view. Perhaps the Operator did do something warranting correction, but is more a Teachable Moment than disciplinary. If an Operator shows a pattern, they should be given every opportunity to correct it before any action be taken against them.

As GM, I would direct that NO suspensions or terminations would happen without my approval. Until management learns how to lead correctly without unnecessary punitive actions, The Buck Would Stop Here.

Passengers Have Responsibilities

Transit is not a right; it is a paid service and a privilege. With privileges come responsibilities. We need to re-instill respect for the front line workers rather than allowing the riding public to overrule transit authority. In turn, front line workers should be given back the power to rule the road, rather than having to second-guess a largely-inconsistent management. There is a time-honed manner of transit: passengers should know what is expected of them, and respect the ride. Period. 

I would insist passengers adhere to the Code of Conduct. Be ready to ride, pay fare, and behave. It's simple. Don't argue with the Operator, don't cause trouble. Be expelled from the ride, suffer an exclusion for a month. Repeat offenders would see a stiffer penalty. Third strike would result in permanent exclusion. No whining, appeal or special treatment. Attack an operator? Immediate and permanent exclusion from riding any transit vehicle. Pack up and leave the city.

The pendulum of responsibility has swung too far toward the pampering the miscreants it discourages decent people from riding transit vehicles. Remove the problem, increase ridership. Show some resolve, and the trouble-causers might think twice before disrupting the ride. Too many Portlanders are wary of riding because our transit management is too soft on those emboldened by a lack of authority. Reward the responsible riders and remove the troublemakers.

Increasing transit police presence is imperative. Attacks on front line workers have increased dramatically over the past several years. Management has gutted the transit police, under pressure from a community vested in the "All Cops are Bastards" movement. They call for "defunding the police" without any comprehension as to what that means for the law-abiding public. Yes, I agree unnecessary violence in policing is a problem needing immediate reversal. It doesn't mean we should turn to "community policing" because this could lead to a vigilante-style society which does nobody justice.

A decimated transit police division puts transit workers in grave danger. Our lives depend upon protection because we are not allowed to protect ourselves. Don't believe me? Just ask any of over 200 transit workers who were attacked in 2020. Many have been suspended or even fired because the "Operator used excessive force" when defending themselves against an attacker. I'm sorry, but if someone is attacking me, they deserve my full defensive excesses, no matter the damage I inflict upon my assailant. If someone uses a deadly weapon in an attack, an Operator should be afforded equal force in defending ourselves, because of course we cannot have any weapon on our person. Nor can we flee, stuck in a small space with little room to maneuver.

Leave Fido at Home


Another important rule needing change would require federal assistance. Too many people bring Fido aboard, causing disruptions by not knowing the rules of Certified Service Animals. I would ask the Federal Transportation Safety Board to lobby Congress in amending the Americans with Disabilities Act to require "service animals" be certified, and documentation of their certification be presented to transit agencies. Only those with such documentation would be allowed to bring an animal aboard a transit vehicle. I'm sick and tired of ambiguity pertaining to Fido. All anyone has to say is their pet is a "service animal" and the only question I'm legally able to ask is "What service is it trained to provide?" Those with any knowledge of the ADA are quick to give an acceptable answer. Anyone else falsely claims I'm not "allowed to ask that question". 

It is irresponsible to those with true service animals to allow people to bring their pet aboard without fear of reprisal. A Service Animal is one that has been intensely-trained to serve someone with special needs. Someone who brings an untrained pet aboard is an irresponsible danger to all on board. If their dog attacks a Service Animal, they are putting a person with disabilities at severe risk. A disabled, or God forbid, dead Service Animal causes great distress to its associated human. It has happened many times where a Service Animal has been attacked by Fido. The flimsy "he's my companion animal" excuse should never be allowed. Every pet is a companion. A Service Animal is a faithful, highly-trained servant.

* * * * *

To summarize, our new GM must have credible working knowledge of the real world in transit to effectively lead this, or any, public transit agency. I'm not easily impressed with someone who has a lofty résumé full of VP/Manager/Master's/or similar credentials. We have suffered enough under their collective inability to understand rubber or rails. Let them fill positions where their experience is needed. Make the GM a leader of people who understands the human element of transporting people. 

My father was once in middle-management. He was a Manager for the State of Arizona and was tasked with hiring people whose job was to help others. He was widely-respected and loved by those he managed, simply because he trusted them to do the right thing. When they made a mistake, he gently corrected them. Dad taught me, "You are bound to make mistakes in life, and good people will train them out of you. Poor management will punish you unnecessarily."

Dad also said, "If you want to know if someone is trustworthy, look into their eyes as you shake their hand. If you don't like what you see or feel, trust your instincts." 

I'm not sure I want to meet those in current positions of upper management, because I might not like what I see. Given the opportunity to lead our transit agency, I would look long and hard into the souls of those entrusted with your safety, and act accordingly. My only hope is when you look into mine, you'll like what you see.

* * * * *

NEXT UP: Part Three will focus on implementing changes which positively affect those who have been negatively-effected by decades-long cuts in benefits transit workers earn. I would also launch fixes to improve this high-stress occupation, including health and child care, apprentice programs, retirement benefits and the value of honoring those with decades of experience. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

How to Be A Transit General Manager - Part One




Deke's Note: I have wrestled with this series for a few months now, my mind fighting itself for the most effective way to present it. Instead of using some set form of outline (procrastination) I have decided to just go for it (decisiveness), see what comes out. You never know what my mind will write.


RUN DEKE, RUN!

I feel like Forrest right now in many ways. Trying to be an optimist in a pessimistic world. Everything is upside down and turned around these days. You all know what I mean. There is no guarantee life will return to "normal". I'm not sure that's possible. Going backward is something Ma warned me against, and I finally understand.

Progress means to forge ahead with new ideas. Maybe all this upheaval will wake up the slumbering bumbling masses from its cellphone daze. I doubt it. The one thing I have learned over the past year is that humans (especially Americans) are spoiled so bad we smell like all the food I just tossed out after being without electricity for 72 hours. Rancid. In our lust for "information" we sort it not by truth (who knows what that is any more), but by what we want to believe. Common sense is no longer a common denominator. Only a desire for more of what we cannot have is what drives us. Until and unless someone can race ahead of the herd of lemmings to stop the chaos and division, we're doomed to roll off into oblivion. 

I'm not that guy. Evidently, a bus operator is not worthy of even a sliver of respect. However, I am racing the pack to block us from that steep cliff. This series of posts is designed to stop the plunge. The current one does not, never did, and never will, work effectively. The "Bored" of Directors will echo the definition of insanity if it makes the same mistake by plucking our new General Manager from some LinkedIn puff baby with a self-aggrandizing résumé. I have a better idea: hire me instead.

* * * * *

RE-PURPOSE THE WHEEL

Management is too big for its britches. It is discipline happy, downright abusive. Intimidating. Inconsistent. Infuriating. Insulting, Inept and Inefficient. I believe the new General Manager should be connected, concerned, and completely invested in the collective health of all who make transit work. Instead of reigning from a lofty perch at Harrison on High, I would move my office to all garage locations, transparently guiding onsite rather than dictating from afar. Encouraging, listening and supporting those with whom I have toiled going on nine years now. By remaining in touch with those who do the work, I could more effectively manage transit's most imperative functions.

I do not believe being an effective leader involves isolation from those who depend upon you for their collective well-being. Unless you are intimately-associated with those doing the work, you cannot expect excellence. Distance instills a severe lack of respect, a system-wide demoralization and lack of enthusiasm. With me at the helm, each employee would know I have their back, because I have been where they are. I have never operated a Light Rail Vehicle, but many of my friends and classmates do. My respect for them is equal to those with whom I roll rubber on roads. Rail ops are subject to the same ridiculous discipline as bus operators, and I'm sick of hearing about the disrespect by those whose mission is to support frontline workers above all. It's a disease for which only common sense and mutual respect can eradicate.

Road and rail and maintenance supervisors, dispatchers, station agents, trainers, vehicle cleaners, yard workers... ALL ATU members, in no particular order but equally, should come first in every consideration. It seems the past few decades here have centered around capital projects which do little to nothing in improving the system with the frontline workers FIRST. Instead, workers are considered obstacles rather than part of the overall solution. Rather than improving conditions for those who provide the service, management thinks of more ways of pampering an already-spoiled ridership. It sides with the problem-causers rather than uplifting those who serve them. It's a disgustingly-insulting management model which must be replaced immediately if Portland transit, or that of any local agency worldwide, is to move forward. It's a new world operating on wobbly legs soon to buckle and fail.

People who feel valued will contribute mightily; those who are treated as begging peasants are disregarded. Our "family" is worthy of love and respect. Just this past year, we have persevered through a deadly pandemic, choking smoky wildfires which threatened our homes, and just recently a prolonged icy/snow which shut down our transit system for the first time in modern history. Many showed up for work as our loved ones suffered through power failures at home, risking our safety just to provide the service our community depends upon.

As your General Manager, I would immediately change that title to "JCMP (Just Call Me Patrick)". Why? Because I am you and you are me. Instead of simply "working from home" I would commission an all-terrain vehicle as a Command Center and work all hours of every day of such a weather or other event to ensure my ESSENTIAL workers are supported and connected to the mission upon which we are all devoted. I could not rest easily knowing many of my frontline workers are braving the worst conditions if I were cozily snuggled up to my Beloved next to our warm fireplace. This would be my final career, folks, and I would dedicate my time to the collective health of all who provide the service we have for over 100 years.

Effective discipline at least shows respect for its subject, not ridicule and shame. It teaches more than punishes. It forgives rather than insisting on the punitive. A well-disciplined work force self-regulates the collective heartbeat. Management's objective should be to keep the beat steady, calm and healthy. A broken model causes its staff to shrink and bristle with indifference. This causes disharmony and ill health. Unless the model is reformed and re-defined, just dig a giant hole and bury all the LRV's and buses along with those who make them work. Why? Because we're so low at the moment we've already started digging.

Portland Transit today is the typical corporate model. It consists of a hierarchal chain of command, with the GM on top of the heavy pile of bureaucrats. Our current GM has no idea what happens on the streets, nor does he seem to care. He does not have his finger on the pulse of transit as it exists worldwide. He just smiles to the wind, indifferently leaving contract negotiations to his "Laird" of HR, who seems hell-bent upon making the lives of his minions unbearable. Mr. GM is evidently quite content to allow the heavy hand of insult full reign while he smiles at the cameras and assures everyone "management is doing its very best to ensure the safety of everyone". Bah. Humbug. That's blissful bullshit, bulbous buffoonery at its best. Or worst, I should say. But well, "b's" are big at the moment.


Think of spokes on a wheel, radiating from the outside toward an inner core, wherein lie the "lug nuts of transit" (RIP, Operator Thomas Dunn of Florida). Each spoke should take its cue from the hub, providing support and encouragement. Strength of the core should be the most densely-focused, as it provides the strength of the whole. Where the rubber meets the road, management should be constantly pressuring local governments to remove the potholes which jar our spines into paralysis. Its main focus should be from the outside in, giving its all to the benefit of those who do the true work of transit. 

Sure, there is need for paper-pushing regulatory gurus, budget planners and such. A General Manager doesn't necessarily need to have governmental or administrative experience to lead. He/she should instead have the desire to encourage staff to do its best for everyone involved. A true "team" has no "I" in it, or so I told my youth basketball players.

My first month would involve replacing corporate resumes with transit workers with similar backgrounds. Those who want to stay would have to take a leave of absence from their current position, go through Driver Training and pass. They would then be required to drive in-service for no less than a year before re-applying for their former positions. Each applicant would be screened like other frontline workers for time loss, safety and performance. If they make the cut, they would be placed under their replacement to learn the new psychology of the position. Only then might they actually understand the importance of empathy and compassion for frontline workers. Hopefully, when a supervisor arrives at their vehicle to settle a dispute and interrupt an attack might they realize the dangers we face every day on the job. Only then, will they be truly qualified to lead. Upon returning to their department, their new boss will be a former Operator. Hey, life can be ironic and payback a Rampant Lion's bite on the butt.

Pretty drastic departure from today's reality, you say? Yeah. Walk a mile in my shoes, and you'll be shocked at what you see, oh ye who haven't a clue what I now do.

* * * * *

Harry Truman was kept out of the loop as Vice President. When he became President upon Franklin Roosevelt's death, Harry was largely unprepared for the top job. However, he applied his own knowledge as a Senator and motivator of people to become one of our nation's most respected leaders. Abraham Lincoln rarely attended school as a child, and self-taught himself into being an exemplary attorney. Elected to only one term in the U.S. House of Representatives, losing his bid to become a Senator to Stephen Douglas, he still rose to become our most-revered President beside George Washington. Abe was not "qualified" for the job, as his detractors sullenly lamented. His vision and compassion won him the respect of those who once belittled him. Instead of denying the voices of his opponents, he trusted them with Cabinet positions so he could keep his "enemies" close while simultaneously picking their brains. In the end, he mastered them all, winning their support and acclaim.

While the position of Transit General Manager does not remotely compare with the U.S. Presidency, it therefore need not be bloated into something unattainable to a blue-collar worker without a college degree. At 60, I have worked many service-related jobs and come away with valuable insights into human interaction and the means of motivating people to do their best for the common good. One of my favorite role models was Mary Gallagher, President of Intergroup of Arizona where I was an IT Desktop Support Tech before transferring to Health Net of Oregon in 2002.

Every Friday morning, Mary pushed a trolley through each department, dispensing coffee, tea, sodas, pastries and fruit to her staff members. She took the time to speak to everyone, listening to our ideas and concerns. If we told her of our children, Mary remembered and upon encountering her in a hallway, she would ask "How is Baby J doing these days? Starting to teethe, I bet." I always felt connected to her, and busted my butt double when she requested our department achieve any number of deadlines. She not only heard us, but acted on what she learned from the people she led. Each one of us openly wept when she died suddenly in her 40s. Mary truly cared about and valued those who were the lugnuts of the company, and we exceeded each challenge she requested. 

I am most comfortable amongst those who have no pretensions of greatness. Honesty in oneself and an ability to laugh inwardly are my strongest traits. Whenever presented with someone in a position "above" me who I feel required to address as "sir" or "ma'am" I am immediately distrustful; they are the most dangerous personalities in leadership. If they demand respect, they are usually not worthy of it. If they show me respect, I am more apt to listen and respond overwhelmingly positive. The moment I shake another's hand, my instincts tell me whether they are trustworthy; I hope my soul is true when people look into these eyes.

One "senior vice president" I dealt with in Corporata was the prime example of piss-poor management. His example reminds me of one of our "leadership". As a member of a team managed by a California-based chief, local VP Seth felt it his duty to ride our asses like the champion rider he was not. Just because Seth didn't like our relative autonomy, he complained to our manager we were not doing our jobs, and prompted Ben to fly up to check on us. Ben was very supportive of us, and truly pissed that a Veep was unnecessarily pulling his chain, but he dutifully took the assignment. I remember Ben apologizing to my co-worker and I for "investigating this bullshit". He knew our track record and had recently upped our pay by 17% that year because of our exemplary job performance.

Ben interviewed Seth, other VP's, the President and department heads as well as a various assortment of staff workers. What he found was in direct conflict with Seth's complaints. He told Seth to go straight to hell, stop harassing his team members and wasting his time on "bullshit". Then, he took us to lunch to congratulate us on making "the team" look good. 

Working for Ben was one of my favorite professional moments. I felt valued and respected, and I busted my ass for the awesome team I was part of. We all worked together and it was blissful. I still have many friends who worked with and "above" me. When my department was outsourced in 2009, it felt like a management-forced divorce; I felt discarded but still love those I served; they in turn missed our timely, personable and friendly service, begging us to come back as "temps" to save them from the severe disconnect from those who replaced us. I still mourn losing that job, but keep in touch with those I served. It was a position in which I respected those who in turn respected me, and we did wonderful work together. Today, I love driving bus and meeting new people, but hate having to second-guess a management that is inconsistent and hell-bent on making our lives miserable.

"This is the best job I've ever had," one operator told me as a newbie, "but the worst company I've ever worked for."

We need more folks like Ben and Mary to run transit, not Seth. It's an irresponsible management model that has led our agency into unprecedented and constant battles with ATU757. It has devolved into a shooting match, with each side poised to take the other down. 

It need not be so.

Our current situation can only accurately be described as an abusive relationship. Leadership's only mission seems to split our union, to cause disharmony. It encourages non-union busy bees to degrade us with anonymous complaints when we dare lower our face mask to take a drink or breathe fresh air while on break. It suspends or terminates experienced workers who have earned value as veterans for the silliest of "infractions". Its irresponsible and confusing edicts cause us to pause in real-life dramas where our physical safety is an immediate concern.

Will I be suspended for acting in an entirely-human manner? This is a question no operator or other frontline worker should have to ask oneself. Yet we do.

That is a position many of us are faced with every day. We don't have the luxury of examining past precedent in the moment while dealing with a crazy person screaming spittle into our faces. One "false" move (as defined by those who have never held the wheel of a 20-ton vehicle in their hands) could result in heavy-handed "discipline". It's easy for them to Monday Morning Quarterback our defensiveness, but human biology over millions of years overrule some managerial misinterpretation of "professionalism" when fight-or-flight is the immediate biological response.

Take too much time to recover from surgery or a life-threatening health event, and you're fired. Just ask my buddy Dan, who came back to work two months early after two shoulder replacements. All he wanted to do was get back in the seat and serve his community; eight years of dedication and countless commendations from the public he served was not enough to circumvent the current reign of terror under which we endure.

It's time for a change. I am one who can revamp a failed model. I believe I will be the General Manager you would be proud to work with, rather than against. Let me hear you, loud and clear. Share this post, consider it, add your suggestions and ideas of what can work rather than what does not. It's time for positivity to be the literary twin of: SAFETY FIRST!

* * * * *

NEXT UP: How to move forward into a positive work culture, keeping frontline workers safe above ridiculous public whining, and educating a horribly-pampered riding public. Stay tuned.

It's time transit workers could sing along with James Taylor
 to his song "You've Got A Friend"


Inching Forward, FTDS Style


If only more people would read more than five seconds! FTDS is poised to break all reader records for the life of this blog. 

When "JUST DRIVE - Life in the Bus Lane" was published in November 2017, this blog boasted a mere 175k hits. Look at me now, Ma! Halfway to a million. 

Thanks everyone. I didn't "share" this post because it's very personal. If you read this, you're a true "fan" of Deke N. Blue and I thank you from the depths of my soul.

Happy 2021, to you and yours.

Love,
Deke

Sadness BusBits

Deke's Note: After the fright, stress and flashbacks of the violent incident on my bus just over a week ago, I have ached to reach back ...