Everyone has a bad transit story -- the belligerent bus driver, the train that got stuck for an hour, the delay at the airport.
But how about a few nice transit stories? Did anyone out there ever get a smile from a bus driver that made a bad night better? Or did a CTA motorman hold the train for you as you came galloping down the stairs, and keep holding it after you accidentally dropped your keys on the platform?
I used to work the "midwatch" shift at the City News Bureau of Chicago. That meant I worked until 2 in the morning, and had to ride home on the bus down Chicago Avenue to Damen, back when that neighborhood was definitely not trendy. It was a little eerie -- but the driver made all the difference. It was always the same crowd on the bus -- me and the cleaning ladies. He used to chat with us and sing us songs, and warn us to be safe. He greeted us in Polish and Spanish. And he always told us to be safe. Everyone was smiling when they got off that bus -- no matter how dark and stormy the night.
I've also encountered astounding acts of kindness from passengers. I was once on a subway train with a man who was certainly drunk and possibly crazy -- he was holding a whiskey bottle, waving it around and yelling about how angry he was. Passengers started moving away from him. I considered changing cars. Then a little lady sat down next to him and took the bottle out of his hand. "You won't be needing that anymore," she said, with great authority. She put his arm around his shoulder and started to talk him down. He started crying and confessed that his mother had died -- that's why he was drinking. Maybe his mother had died 20 years ago -- maybe it was yesterday. It didn't matter -- she gave him sympathy and he calmed down. It was a beautiful act of courage.
So please share your stories -- there are a lot of good eggs out there on mass transit, along with the bad apples.