Friday, December 18, 2015


Lately, I've been catching an early morning bus so I can join a conference call at work with an offshore team. Normally, catching the 5:58 AM bus is a straight forward affair without much ado. But this past Tuesday morning had some excitement.

Since I live only a few blocks from the stop, it means I can leave my house on my bike and roll up to the bus stop about 30 seconds later. It also means that I can see the bus approaching the stop from my driveway, and if necessary, I can put a few quick pedal strokes into the crank to ensure that I don't miss it.

That shouldn't have been the case this past Tuesday morning as I left my house five minutes before the bus was to arrive. But as I was rolling down the driveway, I saw my bus go barreling through the intersection at 52nd and NW Radial at about 40 mph.

I had to be on that bus. And if that was going to be so, I was going to have to chase it down and earn my seat the hard way. So, I quickly adjusted my shoulder strap, flicked on my Bontrager Flare tail light, and then jumped into a full on sprint down 52nd Street. Within a few moments, I had rounded the corner onto NW Radial Hwy and settled into a high cadence burn from the saddle. Fortunately, I had a bunch of angry adrenaline boiling in my veins. That, and a gradual descent on that part of NW Radial aided in my pursuit.  It took over a mile to do so, but I finally caught up to at Hamilton Street, where the bus was held up by the traffic signal.

Since the bus was hugging the outside curb lane, I opted to overtake it from the inside. It was a slightly risky move since it meant passing the bus on the left.  But since there were no cars in the middle lane, and the light was not about to change, it was fine.

"Now why would you pass the bus on the inside?" the bus driver asked me as I boarded.

My adrenaline spiked a second time. My brain failed to quell the angry words that were forming.

"YOU ARE FIVE MINUTES AHEAD OF SCHEDULE!" is what I started yelling at him, though I'm not sure if I used only those words. I do remember a big snot bubble popping and then frothing around my lips as I barked at him like a dog about having to chase him down in my dress clothes and stuff.

When I was done with my tirade, the bus driver looked at me patiently.

"Would you like a transfer ticket?" he said calmly before deducting my fare.

I grabbed my pass and headed to the back of the bus. I spent a good portion of the ride collecting myself. It took most of the next 20 minutes, but by the time we reached downtown, I was at peace again.

"Will you be coming from the south 52nd Street again tomorrow" the bus driver asked with a smile as I approached the exit. "Because I'll be looking out for you to make sure you don't miss it next time," he continued.

"Thanks, but probably not tomorrow. Maybe Thursday."

"I want you to know that I was pretty hot when I boarded the bus, " I continued. "But I've cooled off since. I am sorry for having yelled at you like I did." I meant it.

"You know, what I said to you was only out of concern for your safety. It's just dangerous passing a  bus on the inside like that," the driver said.

"Yeah. Thanks for looking out for me. My wife appreciates it too," I replied.

In the end, we were all smiles and stuff.

In hindsight, I admire his ability to deescalate the situation. He had managed my frothy anger by not engaging in my barbs, by not raising his voice, nor by justifying himself. He allowed me to vent, he was polite, and he offered a solution. Only after all of that did he circle back to restate his original concern for my safety.

Deescalation is a valuable skill to have. I took note.

Happy Friday. Thanks for Reading.

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