Why do people have to be jerks?

I was on the bus today when another MBTA employee was being a real jerk to our driver. Basically the guy got on and stood right behind the yellow line, which is behavior that I only see as justified in a few circumstances:

1. The rider is only getting on for a stop or two. (Not true in this case.)

2. The rider knows the driver, and would like to converse with him/her. (Also not true.)

3. The rider needs directions or other assistance from the driver. (Nope.)

3. The rider needs a moment to locate the proper fare. (Again, not true; T employees don’t pay regular fare.)

At some point, the driver asked the guy to move into the bus so that other people could get on more easily. This seemed like a totally reasonable request; our bus was far from full, but people were getting on at just about every stop, including a few who clearly had some trouble walking.

Now, when a bus driver politely asks a passenger to do something perfectly reasonable, most passengers would simply comply. There were empty seats throughout the bus, and plenty of standing room as well. But our guy? Not a chance. He immediately began to argue, asked for the driver’s badge number, accused the driver of having a problem with him, and then tried to get one of us passengers to act as a witness for him. Despite my intense fear of confrontation, I actually spoke up and said it seemed like the driver was in the right. Several other passengers agreed, some of them catching my eye at various points and clearly communicating This guy is completely off his nut with their eye contact.

So why was standing there such a big deal? Because he didn’t feel like moving. Yup, that’s it. He didn’t want to sit down, he didn’t like being told (asked!) what do do, and he didn’t feel like it.

I get really enraged when I see service professionals being treated like shit. I actually wrote a letter to the MBTA, the second time I’ve done this on behalf of a driver or conductor I’ve seen acting politely and reasonably in the face of a rude and out of whack passenger. (The fact that this guy claimed to also be a bus driver just made it seem all the more crazy that he’d be so rude to a fellow driver.) I also heavily tipped a bartender at Grendel’s once when I saw him calmly taking a bunch of shit from a customer. (In that instance, the guy wanted to send a drink over to someone. The bartender politely responded that the customer in question wouldn’t be served any more drinks. When the customer demanded to know why, the bartender revealed that the guy had called one of the servers a bitch. Things went a little downhill from there.)

Anyway, there’s no real point to this post, other than that people’s parents should have taught them some better manners. And to the driver of bus 1037 at 12:39 this afternoon: my hat is off to you, sir.

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