It’s easy to be cynical about people in this city, whether because they have a wide stance, like to chat up the wrong people online, or just in general seem selfish in their behavior. I’m finding that taking mass transit is instead exposing me to people’s little courtesies and kindnesses, and they put my day off to a good start. Maybe they’ll improve yours.

A few minutes into my journey on the bus, a woman got on who clearly wasn’t used to taking it and lacked the proper change. The bus driver was being kind but firm with her and someone sitting near the front said “here, I have change.” She didn’t in fact, have full change for the woman’s fiver – she just had the necessary change to pay the woman’s fare. She refused to take the $5 in exchange for 75 cents – which would have been a sizable ROI – and told her not to worry about it.

A wee later, another fellow stopped what he was reading, leaned forward and waved at someone sitting down and across from him. “You dropped something there.” Not a great sacrifice, not even as much as giving away $0.75, but a small and basic courtesy he could have failed to do never the less.

2 Comments so far

  1. ajw_93 (unregistered) on October 19th, 2007 @ 12:42 pm

    It’s good to see that others notice the good bus behavior too! On my daily route I regularly see people offering change, giving up seats for those more needy, and telling the driver if someone is on the run for the bus. Pleasant conversations with other riders blossom from time to time as well. I used to ride the big tourist route down Constitution and regularly helped confused tourists to find their proper stops, etc.

    I have found that riding the bus, especially on a regular route, can be much pleasanter than the Metro train even if the bus itself might not be all that comforable.

  2. mark (unregistered) on October 20th, 2007 @ 7:17 am

    Plus, once you move to denver, co, and see that people are strangely MORE detached than the masses of DC, and more oblivious to others, but with an air of pretentiously, and topically feel "small town" country but "big city" character, a person realizes just how great the people of DC are, after all…

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