“Can you get me a Fribble?”
Who knew such an innocent request would result in a bus driver yelling at us in front of several passengers?
We were traveling by charter bus to a location outside Brooklyn, some place where they have trees with green leaves. Across from one of our stops was a Friendly’s. Our girlfriend pined for a “Fribble,” Friendly’s proprietary thick milkshake. We weren’t sure we had enough time but decided to give it a shot.
When we came to the front of the bus, the door was closed, and the bus driver wasn’t there. Outside, some passengers stood smoking. We pushed on the door but it didn’t open. Then we saw two big buttons by the driver’s seat, one red, one green, one indicating an opening door, the other, a closing door. Using our finely honed powers of analysis and deduction, we decided to press the open door button. The hydraulics shooshed the door open and we pushed our way outside…
Immediately as we got off, the bus driver rushed over and demanded to know just what we thought we were doing. We told him we were going to get a Fribble. He asked just how we got it into our head it was okay to press the button to open the door. We said we were a “hands-on kinda guy.” He went on to explain how we had no right to touch anything, how we put the bus in danger, how the bus was a sophisticated piece of machinery, how a meaner bus driver would’ve just ripped up our ticket, did we want to speak to his supervisor? Because he would call him over here if we wanted to.
We tried to say sorry, that we didn’t mean any disrespect, but he interrupted us to remind us how we had put the lives of the other passengers in mortal danger and a driver not as nice as him wouldn’t let us back on the bus. At this point we interjected to say yo, we understand, we’re sorry, but it’s not necessary to publicly dress us down. He said that he wasn’t yoing us, we were just having a friendly discussion, and then he started back up again with bus danger, supervisor, buttons, ripping tickets etc. We said, look, we understand, and then he asked us if we want to get back on the bus. We said we would love too.
We returned to our girlfriend, who appreciated our unsuccessful efforts. As the bus trundled through the towns, we fantasized about getting the driver’s name and filing a complaint. Maybe even talking to him at the end and telling him how we paid for a bus ticket, not to get a verbal spanking from a bus driver. Instead, when we got off the bus at the end, we thanked him for the ride, and set about trying to enjoy the rest of the three-day weekend.
We do a lot of kvetching on the site and encourage people who feel wronged by companies to write complaint letters. But part of being a good consumer is not just knowing to complain, and how to complain, but knowing when not to complain. Sometimes, after a little reflection, you realize you’re complaining because the bus driver won’t let you push the buttons on the dashboard, and that he might even merit praise for severely nipping in the bud uppity passengers who might endanger bus operations. — BEN POPKEN