The Bus Driver
This is not a true story...but who knows what you can learn from a bus driver....
The Bus Driver
"The last bus was 11pm that night and I had no other transport available, my car was being serviced, I was tired after a day of business so it would have to be the bus. Yeah it would take about an hour to get home which is at least thirty minutes more than car but it's late and it won't be busy so why not?
The bus pulled up to the stop, the driver opened the door and stared at me. I couldn't help but stare back and as I did I was drawn to his blood shot eyes the stubbly beard and non existent smile on his face.
"A single too Hornsea please." I asked.
Without manners or expression of any type the driver, whose name I noticed was George gave me the price. I looked at him I was too tired to complain about his manners, or lack there of. I just paid him. I gave him £7 and he pressed his lever for the change.
I sat on the first chair. It would have been awkward sitting at the back; I was the only passenger too, which I was glad about. I wanted some peace. So I placed my brief case between my legs and closed my eyes thinking I could rest all the way home.
"I've been driving buses 20 years you know."
That made me jump. I did not expect to hear from the front, not after the welcome I got coming on board. His voice was rough and dry, sounded a bit like a whisky drinker or a smoker. He had no oomph in his voice.
"That's a long time." I didn't know what to say.
"Yes I suppose it is really. I know these roads like the back of my hand. Up and down backward and forwards everyday and every week. Following my father’s footsteps. He did it forever. I think I could do it blindfolded."
Jokingly I replied "Please don't do that! I'd like to get home safely."
"You can trust me to get you home safely man I may not have a degree or a briefcase like yourself. No, I wasn't a good learner in school but driving I enjoy." He spoke this with a bit of touchiness.
"I know, I was just joking. Sorry."
I wished I had never said anything.
"Oh ha-ha. Yes. Yes."
I looked in his rear view mirror and smiled and gave him a nod even raised a thumb. Man language. It was quiet for about 15 minutes when I heard sniffling.
He was crying. The bus driver was crying.
What do you do when a man suddenly starts crying? And he is driving you home? Well I got up and tiredly and without trying to fall over walked to the front and held the railing.
"Excuse me? Are you okay? I mean I thought I heard you crying and..."
He turned to look at me with his blood shot eyes which now looked crimson. I was a little concerned he took his eyes off the road.
"AM I OKAY?" he almost shouted.
"Am I? You tell me!"
"Okay...George. I’m on this bus for awhile so if you want to talk I'm all ears."
I really did not want too but I wanted to get home safely and it seemed I had to listen to do that. So I stood for the rest of the journey whilst he spent moments telling me his story and other moments in silence.
Here is his story in his words:
"I was 37 when I started driving these you know. I was married and I had a son of 7 years old. I didn't mind the job really, as I said I like driving and I thought it’s easy so I did it. And yes my father did it; he used to let me come with him free. You meet all sorts of interesting people on the buses. Some you don't mind looking at again, if you know my meaning and some you wish you'd never meet again. And that's where my story comes into play.
"It was this night to the date I'd left the house around 12pm for my long afternoon to night shift I kissed my wife and son goodbye and goodnight. I didn't have one of those mobiles I'm sure that you own, everyone but I seem to have one. Bring cancer to the brain so I heard. Anyway my point being that was the last time I spoke to them, not last I saw them though. I almost wished it had been.
"The day was like any other to be honest. Until what happened to be my last passenger came on board. If only I'd have known who he was I'm sure I would have killed him. But again maybe it's best otherwise I wouldn't be here driving you home would I?"
My eyes were bulging. I didn't know what was coming next but I didn't like being on this bus alone with him anymore. Forget the peace. I gulped and managed to answer him.
"No that is true and I'm very glad you are going to get me home safely."
"Yes. Anyway I digress. So this man steps on at the last stop, I was taking my last journey out of Hornsea before I could return for home and bed. I didn't recognise him. He looked like a tramp a little, a beard and his hair hung over his face a little. He also had a big holdall. Nevertheless, he had his bus fare and that was fair enough for me. It's a funny way to travel after he did what he did, he got away temporally mind. But only temporally. He didn't speak he did sit at the back and didn't move until he got off in Hull. That was that.
"I made my final journey home in my car thankful that I could leave the bus behind. And get to bed and sleep.
"I finally pulled into the drive. We always used the back door, so when I saw it was open a jar I was surprised. We always locked the door behind us in our house.
"And..." George’s eyes began to stream again. I suggested we stop but he insisted on continuing driving and speaking.
"...And when I got in the house was a complete and utter mess. It had been trashed. I shouted up, knowing my wife usually goes to bed before I'm home and my son would have been earlier. There was no answer though. As I walked through the mess I could see things had gone missing, we had been burgled. I then ran upstairs to my bedroom and I screamed so loudly then I hurt my lungs. My wife was laid on the bed dead- her throat had been cut. She looked peaceful despite the blood. I turned into my son’s room hoping against all hope...”
He took a deep breath "And he too was dead"
"O god, I am so sorry. I can't believe it."
"I do. I saw it and my family are not with me anymore. Anyway the police got involved and the murderer left a ton of finger prints, making him a novice, and they reckoned he had panicked when he saw my wife and son in the house and so he killed them. His face quickly appeared in the papers and on TV and soon as I saw his face I knew him from that night on the bus. I had helped the murderer of my family to get away."
"George. I don't know what to say. I don't know how I didn't ever see this on the TV or in the papers. I don't know what else to say except I am so sorry."
"Sir tonight is the anniversary of that night. I can never cope. I have no-one to go home too. I have never gotten use to that loneliness. I don't know how you missed the news. But this stuff happens and in life we are sometimes too busy too notice I suppose. Look here is your stop. Have a good night and take care."
He looked at me the same way as when I first got on. I thanked him and smiled and got off. That night has changed my life forever. I have taken more notice of the things that happen all around- and it's not a pretty sight. I am unsure what I can do that would make a difference. But I have to say as I finish I have learnt a great lesson from a humble bus driver who I never saw before or since that trip home."