Killing Them with Kindness


Now that I’ve moved to the city, my ’95 Jetta has been relegated to the curb with an occasional jaunt to a different side of the street to avoid the infamous street cleaning ticket. My dream has finally come true… well, partially. I am now driven to work. Not by my personal chauffeur (as in my dream) but by the San Francisco Municipal Bus Driver. Muni for short.

Each morning you’ll find me either breathing in the crisp morning air Pollyanna-like as I wait patiently at the bus stop, or shifting side to side as I stare at the Muni schedule every 5 seconds wondering why it hasn’t arrived yet, or you’ll find me racing down the hill in hopes that the bus driver will offer me some grace and slow down so I can catch up to the next stop. I haven’t quite figured out the protocol on whether or not to chat with the bus drivers. It was just a few weeks ago that I realized that the sign “Information Gladly Given But Safety Requires Avoiding Unnecessary Conversation” was not a sign for me to not talk to strangers. It was a sign to let the bus driver do what they were paid to do – drive. So, I’ve kept quiet and obeyed the signs with a quick “thank you” as I exit the bus.

Just a few days ago, a friend of mine told me about her recent interaction with her bus driver. As she was walking towards her bus stop, she made eye contact with her bus driver, but he sped up and didn’t stop for her.  She couldn’t believe it. He blatantly left her behind! We pontificated about what action she should take. Should she be sarcastic the next morning with a snide remark such as “wow, that was really great of you to drive right by me yesterday.”  Or, should she kill him with kindness, and even buy him a gift certificate to thank him for all of the past safe voyages to and from work? We opted for kindness. Who knows? He could just be an angel in disguise (who also happened to wake up on the wrong side of the bed the other morning).

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