About noticingswportland

Lynn Rossing lives, works, volunteers, and grew up in Southwest Portland neighborhoods. This blog spotlights some uncelebrated scenes and corners of urban life in Southwest Portland, Oregon.

Three Drivers

I ride TriMet buses many times every week, at various times and on various lines. Typically, I get on the bus, the driver nods when I show that my fare is paid, and that’s the end of our interaction.

Yesterday was different. Three times.

Trip #1. It started out as a normal morning rush-hour commute to downtown, but then the driver missed a turn. It happened in a part of southwest Portland where there are no other turn-offs for a considerable distance. My fellow passengers became alarmed and started murmuring concerns about getting to work on time. But a moment later, the bus driver made an announcement over the loudspeaker in a clear, resonant voice: “Well, we missed a turn. But we’ll get back on track real soon.” His soothing tone instantly vanquished all the anxiety. When the bus arrived downtown, nearly everyone getting off complimented the driver: Nice work! Great job! Thanks for getting us here on time! Good recovery, man!

Trip #2. Mid-morning I waited near City Hall to catch a bus going across the river. A bus arrived, but only to let off its sole passenger because it was headed to the garage. I told the driver I was only going across the bridge but I could wait for the next bus, and he said, “I’ll take you, hop on.” He didn’t need to do that, it was just a kindness and courtesy that saved me some waiting time.

Trip #3. Mid-day I was in southeast Portland and hopped on a bus to go back downtown. As we approached the Hawthorne Bridge to cross the Willamette River, the bus driver made an announcement: “The bridge is is up. That means it’s time for a bridge song.” So while we waited for a big tugboat to make its way downriver, she graced the passengers with a rendition of The Birth of the Blues that brought tears to some eyes. As the bus started moving again, I felt renewed by the unexpected gift of music.

I didn’t catch any of these drivers’ names. But luckily I have this bus blog to say, thank you all!




Getting off the bus just now, I commented to the driver that it looks like we might get some weather. He took one hand off the wheel, and with his fingertips lightly touched his lips. He said: “It’s almost tasting like a Texas thunderstorm.”  My TriMet poet.IMG_5330