Bus drivers inspire daily commuter’s attitude changesdsucollegian.

Caleb Bruynes


Living in D.C. has forced me to utilize public transportation every single day. At the very best, it’s inconvenient and at the very worst it’s unbearably dreadful. Planning a route is a headache because it is impossible to accurately predict arrival times since there are so many unforeseen circumstances that can throw off the estimated time of arrival. I leave at the same time every day, but there are times that I’m 20 minutes early while other times I’m 20 minutes late. One morning I was late because someone got sick on the metro and another time because there was a “suspicious” passenger. Usually by the time I get to the office, I’m crabby.

Lately, though, I’ve noticed my mood has been oddly chipper upon my arrival in the mornings, which I think is starting to scare my colleagues. For a while, I couldn’t put my finger on why I was suddenly tolerable to be around; I thought it could be the new shirt I added to my regular rotation, or the week old beard I’ve been rocking. But I think I’ve figured out the real reason: bus drivers.

The first couple of weeks in D.C., I had been walking and taking the metro everywhere. But recently I started taking the bus to shave minutes off of my commute. It’s a little bit more expensive, but I think it’s been worth it.

Bus drivers are the heart and soul of Washington D.C. They’re always greeting people with a smile and a friendly, “Good morning!” They get everyone to their destinations as quickly and as safely as they can and have even been known to give a free ride now and then.

There are a lot of people to talk to on the bus, but I’ve started sitting up front to talk to the drivers instead. I have yet to encounter one who was in a bad mood and they always have something good to say. Somehow, they’re able to hold a conversation about virtually anything, whether it’s sports, the weather, popular culture or my week old beard which they sometimes mention in a funny line or helpful tidbit. Like, “Shave that thing, you look stupid.”

My favorite part of the morning commute, though, is the pep talk. These bus drivers take it upon themselves to make us feel like champions before we start our day. They’re like the coach of a team; the few seconds between them stopping the bus and us getting off is their pregame, and we’re their players looking for inspiration. Some mornings it’s as simple as, “Have a great day!” Other times it’s more intense like, “You go out and make today count!” No matter what though, they leave us with something.

Making the bus a part of my morning routine has made the first few hours of each day easier to get through. It’s nice to see people enjoying their job; it can be quite contagious.