This Bus Is Too Hot

Is there a sense of entitlement that recent immigrants or newer citizens of the United States of America lack? Is there a comfort level that needs to be achieved before we start acting in a certain way? The “certain way” that seems to want to bend the world to ones needs, to change things in ones own favor by making a conscious effort?

There was an incident in my bus during my morning commute on Friday. The bus that picked us up was an older model. Most of us were happy to see it because the seats are more comfortable and the air conditioning more bearable (an early June morning is still chilly). So we all got settled in our favorite seats with our books, iPods, or found ourselves the best snoozing positions. The bus made its journey eastward and as it was about to enter the Lincoln Tunnel, suddenly a passenger in a starched white shirt, wired to the tee with gadgets all around his belt, his ears etc. walked up to the driver and started screaming about the malfunctioning air conditioning in the bus. He asked the driver to fiddle with the various knobs on the dashboard to try to make the air come on. When that didn’t work he said he couldn’t believe he was being subject to this treatment. He said he was sweating profusely and that the back of the bus was like an oven. He asked the driver to call the dispatcher and have him send over a new bus.

Wide awake now I was stunned as I observed the driver pulling over to the side of the road. I tried to see the reactions on other passengers’ faces. I shrugged, I tried to make eye contact and exchange incredulous glances with others, I just couldn’t believe what had just happened! Ten minutes away from the city the bus had come to a complete stop. The passenger who had complained got off the bus and stood outside with his hands on his hips. A couple of other men walked out and stood with him.

The rest of us started questioning the driver, “Are you telling me this bus isn’t going anywhere?”

“Yes, ma’am. Can’t take it anywhere. They want me to bring it back to the terminal.”

“So how are we getting to work?”

“They be sending another bus.”

“But I don’t understand! This bus was running fine!”

“This gentleman didn’t want us going any further!”

“Well, why can’t we just leave him here and move on??”

“Can’t do that ma’am.”

And so we waited for a new bus to pick up all the passengers from our bus and take us into the city.

I still can’t get over how easily one man had succeeded in bending a bus full of passengers to his will. He was feeling hot, so the rest of us had no choice but to fall in with his plans!!

Would I ever do such a thing? I doubt I would ever do this. It wouldn’t even be a question of not having the guts, the nerve to do it. It just wouldn’t occur to me to do this. Is that because I feel timid? Is it because I have been conditioned to accept my lot in life to a certain extent? Is it right to work toward the most comfortable situation for yourself showing utter disregard for others? Or is there an assumption here that what was the perfect solution for this man would be acceptable to many others as well? If this was indeed the assumption, was it arrogant? Does it come from feeling more settled and confident in this nation than I do? I go on thinking about it, still incredulous and a little angry about the time we wasted waiting for another bus to pick us up right outside the city, a bus that wasn’t even going to take me to my normal stop, a bus that was freezing inside, a bus where my new seat wasn’t as comfortable as the seat I had left behind in the old bus. All because some guy had the nerve to improve things for himself at the expense of everyone else!


  1. hmmm… America and entitlement… now that's an entangled pair huh? :)jeff

  2. This leaves me shocked and numb. I cannot believe this actually happened in the US of A! In Calcutta or Bombay the lout would have been sorted out, and none too gently either.But I'm puzzled by the passivity of the other passengers, I find it inexplicable.:( !!

  3. "Is that because I feel timid?"No, that's just because you aren't an asshole. I doubt I would ever do that.

  4. in the UK talking to the bus driver while he is driving is illegal. this guy would have been kicked off immediately. mind you, the the buses dont have air son either…

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