What is it with able-bodied people and giving up their seats to elderly or disabled people?
Yes, do continue this practice! It is quite convenient!
For me, sometimes I do want/need to sit on transit. Standing on the bus, which can stop suddenly or round corners at breakneck speed, it is not ideal due to my balance issues.
However, this blog is not about ON the Bus, but waiting for the bus!
Recently, I was at the bus stop en route to a meeting on a beautiful sunny day, I was standing right by the bus stop. (This is my usual bus-waiting spot, I’ll explain why a bit further down) With my coolest sunglasses blocking the rays, my white cane was prominently displayed, I probably looked like the stereotype blind person!
This bus stop has a large waiting covered waiting area with plenty of seats.
I always ignore those seats and stand by the bus stop.
While I’m waiting, a man comes along and sees me standing there, and then he says something to me. I am the only person there, so his comments must be addressed to me. I gesture: I am Deaf. He responds by pointing to the seating area. No, I do not want to sit down, thank you, I gesture “No thank you”, to which he replies, now gesturing, “See?” which I understand as “Can you see the bus?” I nod affirmatively and return to playing level 1919 of Candy Crush on my phone. I’m always glancing up to see if bus is approaching, when it does, my phone goes away and I get on and away I go.
End of story.
Query: Why did this person assume I needed to sit down?
Now, I will tell you why I always stand beside the bus stop pole:
- I need to see when the bus arrives; I cannot see the bus when I’m sitting.
- I need to see the bus number, which is best displayed on the front of the bus, not the side.
- If I’m sitting, drivers might not see me in time and would zoom by, think there is no one getting on. This is has happened many times!
So those are the reasons why I stand by the bus stop!
I want to enlighten you about a time when I the last point above did not work!
It was during my latter college years, I was staying with friends overnight due to one class ending very late, and the next mornings class very early. At that time, transit was slow, it would take me a long time to get home and back to the college. So my friend allowed me to stay the night, their house was only 20 minutes to the college, IF I got this limited edition morning rush bus. I had successfully gotten this bus a few times without issue. But this particular morning I was overtired, and concerned about the impending psych statistics test later that day, I was leaning on the pole in such a way that it would appear that the pole was holding me up.
I did not use my white cane that often during college!
So, I am looking for the bus, looking at the approaching traffic. Seeing no bus, I looked to the right for a long spell of time, probably going through various ways to calculate correlation so something. Still looking to my right, as traffic is slowly passing by due to morning rush hour, I see the backside of the bus! The one I should be on! I holler “HEY Stop!” but obviously the bus does not stop! Fuming, and hurling insults, I storm across the street to get the regular bus, which gets me to the college at a later time: I am late for my first class!
Why did the bus zoom by? I can think of two reasons. Maybe it did stop, but I didn’t hear it, because I was focusing on reviewing key terms. My hearing was a bit better at that time, I should have heard the bus screech to a stop. The other reason could be the way I was hugging the pole, like I was stoned and high as a kite! The driver made a judgement call and didn’t bother stopping! That area was notorious for drug activity, it has been cleaned up since.
So, since that incident, I always stand at the bus stop and look towards the oncoming buses, no matter where I am: Toronto, Sudbury, Hamilton, Scaramento…
Have a good day now!