Slice of Life: That One Good Transit Story

How many of you reading this are mass/public transit riders, or have been in the past? Take a second and think about the stories you've told about things that have happened while you were waiting for your bus/train to arrive. Or while you were on your bus/train. Or as you were getting off your bus/train?

I'm willing to bet a few pieces of the candy sitting on my desk as I write this blog that your story is either hilariously awful or disgustingly awful. I can think of a dozen stories. Most of the time it's difficult for me to come up with something positive. Some of the stories are just horrible.

Today it's not so hard to find something good to say.

I was visiting a couple of friends from college on the other side of town recently, which meant a significant trek from my house to the place they were staying. On my way there, the weather was typical for Phoenix in August - dastardly hot with the humidity cranking up, and high white clouds that could mean a storm later on or nothing at all.

The aforementioned storm started rolling in as I sat at the bus stop, waiting for the bus that would get me closest to home. Wind blowing dust around, no hint of rain yet, but the clouds in the sky were too dark and heavy for anything else to happen. I was not alone - there was a guy sitting at the bus stop with me. I had my earbuds in, listening to music because I was all talked out after hours of catching up and not wanting to communicate with anyone I did not have to.

In the midst of a particularly strong gust of wind and over the sound of the music pumping into my ears, I heard the guy sitting next to me trying to get my attention. So I pulled an earbud out, looked towards him, and said, "Yeah."

"You might want to move. I heard one of the branches cracking like it's going to fall," he told me.

I couldn't hear much between the wind and the music in my other ear, but there was a tree right behind the bench we had been sitting on. I could see the wind whipping its branches around in a frenzy.

So yeah, I grabbed my bag and he and I moved away from the bench.

Two minutes later, one of the branches came tumbling down. It didn't hit the bench, but it might have hit me in the head on its way down with where I was sitting.

To say I was thankful for the warning is an understatement. All he said to my profuse words of gratitude was that he would have been a jerk if he hadn't done said anything. I didn't spend too long repeating myself, because the bus came a minute or two after that and just before the downpour started.

Now I'm not going to sit here and tell you that public transit is the safest or most amazing way to get around town. It's slow, the commutes are long, and awful things can happen on and off the bus/train. I've seen fights break out. I've heard screaming matchings. I've been asked about where to find free condoms on a train platform, been proposed to by a guy who was drunk, and had another guy in my face about having my phone out while I was waiting for a bus.

That last one is the reason why I now believe it's possible for someone to be attacked in a crowded area and have no one lift a voice or a finger to help. By the time I got on the bus that day, the guy who had gotten in my face was so worked up I thought he was going to try to hit me. There were at least a dozen people at the bus stop, and the only reaction I saw from anyone was to move away.


But that story in particular is why I was so grateful for the warning about the tree branch. I could have been hurt. Someone did something to make sure I wasn't, when they didn't have to say anything at all. I'll be thinking about this one for awhile because it's a story where something good happened on a public transit adventure.

Do you have any good or bad stories about using public stories? Share them in the comments!