Now that I’m in a different season for a while, I’ve gone back to my regular Bus 74 route. It is funny how I associate different bus services with different seasons of my life. Two of the five services that run along the main road at my place are still “un-associated” – perhaps there are at least 2 more distinct seasons?!
But coming back to Bus 74. Because of the timings at which I used to take this bus over the last 6 years, I would mostly meet a particular driver. He would greet every person who got on. Haven’t seen him for a while since the previous season saw me switching to Buses 166 and 33. But I got on the 74 today and there he was! It’s nice to see a familiar face 🙂
We chatted during that short, 3-stop journey to the terminal. Quite suddenly, he thrust a purple form into my hands and asked me to consider filling it up. A feedback form. I was curious about why he wanted me to fill it up. After all, he’s been friendly for the last 6 years and never once took this out. Then again, this was also the first time I had a chance to talk to him. Usually, it would be a quick smile and nod, then I’d get pushed along by the cranky and sleepy peak hour crowd.
“So, how long have you been driving a bus?”
“Long… about 30 years…”
“Hwah! Almost as long as I’ve been alive. But you don’t look it.”
“Heh… I started driving when I was 22. Then yah lah, time passes… and here I am…”
“Do you get bored?”
“Will lah, same route everyday…”
“Then how? What do you do?”
“Look around, notice the environment, the little things in it, notice people… it’s the same everyday but it is also different. Just whether you notice. Also, it’s nice to see ‘regular’ faces – passengers who get onto the bus you drive. You know after a while, who gets on at roughly what time… you even know when they’re running late… You may even see them get married, and see their children hop onto your bus leh!”
“Do you often get difficult passengers?”
“Yah, of course got!! But what to do? They show you black face, they try to be difficult, you also have to ‘loong’… you still have to be polite, courteous, and drive safely and protect them… aiyah, just laugh it off lor…”
There are many people doing jobs in this country that we don’t stop often enough to be thankful for and appreciative of.