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A Bus Driver's World, and How to Change It!

Changing the world

Sounds ridiculous doesn't it? But it's true, I've always been one who wanted to change the world! And I still want to! I'm still crazy enough to think that I can actually change this world and make it a better place for everyone in it, or at least a better place for everyone that I meet.

Okay, now that we've got that out of the way and now that you probably think I'm totally bonkers for thinking that I can change I'll try and explain a little of my thinking and we'll see where things go from here.

First of all, I probably need to explain a little bit here on where the heck this hub is coming from? The kernel that started the process that led to the writing of this hub actually started with a conversation I had with a work colleague the other day.

The day had started in the normal way and we were in the ops room getting our schedules for the day, I've been working a shift we affectionately call the 'three bros' as it's a mixture of driving through some of the rougher neighborhoods here in Hamilton, Okay, they're not as rough as some cities, but things can get a little 'entertaining' in them if you're not careful. Most of the folks who drive the buses don't really like them as they've had trouble on the 'runs' but I really enjoy driving those routes and I've never had much trouble there!

When I said that I got the reaction, "How the hell do you manage that?"

Well, here's the answer, see what you think.

My office

Been a while, but we're back 'on the Buses'

Been a while, but we're back 'on the Buses'

Changing the world (one person at a time!)

By now, you're either thinking that I'm a total 'basket case' thinking this, or you're saying to yourself 'How?'

You already know the answer 'in your head' but getting it down to where things really happen, into the heart and through there to the 'will' is the longest twelve inches in the world!

Let's face it, most of us know these things, but actually using them to make a difference is the biggest hurdle we face right? I know for me it is. There's times when I really don't want to do it, but then that's when I kick myself in the proverbial butt and ask a simple question, "What sort of day do you want today?"

"What sort of day do you want today?"

Do you want one that's going to be busy, stressful and at the end of the day you're going home exhausted to face whatever's been going on at home and 'well, what will be will be!' Or do you want a day that's pretty stress-free, yes things might go wrong and the boss gets upset at the situation, but that's his (or her) problem and it's not going to ruin your day!

What do you think?

You govern your day

Your attitude governs your altitude

— John Maxwell

Something to think on

Though the fig tree does not bud

and there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails

and the fields produce no food,

though there are no sheep in the pen

and no cattle in the stalls,

18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will be joyful in God my Savior.

19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;

he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,

he enables me to tread on the heights.

— Book of Habakkuk 3 verse 17-19

Here's how

I'll be honest, I was going to put those verses as a 'video clip' for you to sing to but when I looked at what was there, man they got the mood so wrong!!!! Yes, I did say wrong!

See when I read these verses I think the prophet was getting angry. He was angry that these things were happening, and he was angry that someone or something was trying to steal his good attitude, he was basically saying. "Listen buddy, you can try all these things, BUT YOU AREN'T GOING TO STEAL MY JOY!"

That's where we start, deciding each and every day who's going to be in charge of the day, is going to be circumstance, or is it going to be you?

The first lesson in changing my world is "who's in charge of my day?"

Now I know that half of the Christians here are going to be saying, "Shouldn't it be Jesus?" and the answer to that is "Who lets him take charge, isn't it me?"

We're the ones who decide how our days are going to 'play out' and we're the ones who make the decisions on what we allow and don't allow in our days. Do I want to live a life that Jesus would be proud of? Well here's a little of how it plays out.

A glimpse

In the average day on my bus, I'll see between 200 and 250 passengers. They come in all shapes and sizes, from the little newborn with Mum looking after her to the 98-year-old running faster than most kids a quarter her age.

The millionaire to the 'bum' or 'no hoper' for a job, and they all want just one thing, to be treated with respect, yeah sure, they usually want to go someplace in the city, but more than that they all want to be treated with a little respect.

Starting the run, I try and get out on time, if it's a cold wet day no one really wants to be waiting in the rain, you do that more than you have to and you're going to be grumpy! the bus has usually been cleaned the night before, but I'll do a quick check before letting people on, just in case anything's been missed (you'll be surprised how many mobile phones and umbrellas I've found on buses!) and we're off.

The first passengers get greeted with a "Morning" or "Hello" and a smile. I also always stop the bus, put the handbrake on and make sure that I give each passenger my full attention. Some folks just simply want people to notice them, is that too much to ask?

Here's a trick I haven't told the other guys yet, but one I learned makes a big difference, if I'm running late first thing in the morning (hey I may have had to fix things in the bus before leaving the yard!) I apologize to each and every passenger on the first run. Why? because they may have been stood in the rain, or the cold wind, saying sorry just breaks that 'grumpiness' down a little!

The funny ones are the ones who're running for the bus in the morning, sometimes I'll see them down the street running and waving frantically hoping to catch the driver. Those I'll have a little fun with usually saying something like "Just made it!"

One time I was doing a new run (not long after I first started) and almost every stop I was waiting for people, then just as we got into town I had to call into the Ops center to get some info for a passenger, they gave me the info, but about two minutes later called me back telling me they'd given me wrong info and 'here was the new info'. Unfortunately, as I was listening to the radio and not watching as I missed the turning I was supposed to take, so I told the passengers. "Sorry folks, but we've got a bit of a detour on as I just missed a turning"

The whole bus erupted with laughter as about ten of them (I had a full bus of about sixty) said. "Hey, you gave us all breaks this morning, If it wasn't for you, we'd all be half an hour late, I think we can manage to give you one!"

Ain't that true though? When you give someone a break they often give it straight back.

How do you start the day?

Full attention to all

Full attention to all

Changing the world

It doesn't matter who you are, one thing that everyone responds to is being treated with respect, that doesn't mean that they can abuse you, and anyone on my bus who tries that finds out pretty fast that there are rules on my bus, and I don't change them for others!

They learn that while I'll be treating them with respect, I'll also be doing the job properly, and that means that some of the things they 'got away with' isn't going to happen on my bus! Fizzy drinks and Ice cream are out on my bus, and there are times when I'll ask them to move seats (especially when they're sat in the seats by the wheelchair bay and I get a person in a wheelchair getting on, or an older person with a walking frame).

"Come on! Pull the other one!"

I know, it sounds ridiculous, doesn't it! How the heck can things like this change the world? I mean it sounds just silly, doesn't it?

Well, it doesn't happen overnight, and being totally honest, if anyone told me this I'd be wondering how the heck can it work, but it does!

I've been driving the bus now for about four years, and I love it as much today as I did when I first started the job! Yes, I've had times when people have been rude, gruff, abusive and even once had firearms on the bus.

Okay, that one I wasn't too polite in telling them "there's no f#@$^%g way they're getting on the bus. That one was amusing as the guys actually asked me why not!

"Because you're carrying two items that aren't allowed on the bus"

"What items?"

"There's a canister of lighter fluid, and a replica pistol" (I thought no one would be dumb enough to walk around with a real one)

"It's not a replica" I was told, "It's a BB gun"

"Well guess what" I was pretty rude, but then there was a bus load of very relieved passengers literally 'out of the firing line' "There's even less chance of you getting on" (I didn't tell them that armed police were on the way!)

It is possible to change the world, but you do it one person at a time, and you do it one event at a time.

What do you think?

Try it and see.

This is a bit of a 'half-baked' hub not just asking for a little 'tolerance' in a pretty intolerant world (don't believe me about that? Then listen to the news and see what's going on in the world) but saying that when you give people a little respect a surprising thing happens, they give it back!

It doesn't happen 'overnight', usually for me, on the bus, it takes a couple of days for the person to transform from the 'grump' on a Monday to the guy (or gal) who's saying "Hello" and "thank you" by the end of the week, and guess what, once they start and they see others giving them the respect they've always wanted, they give it back and their world has changed.

Anyway, this is a hub asking you to try it and see. So do so and let me know what you think in the comments below, maybe even go away and try it for a few days then come back and let us know how you went with it.




Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on May 30, 2020:


Yesterday was my first day back after three weeks being sidelined with sickness, it was really nice catching up with old friends who were both drivers and passengers.

It was really good.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on May 30, 2020:

Your actual stories and experiences help to illustrate what you mean and I agree. I find respect is like a smile. When you give it to others you almost always get one back.



Lawrence Hebb on October 20, 2016:


Thank you for the compliment, I just try to be consistent and as my dad would say 'put my body where my mouth is!'

It's not always easy, but the rewards far outweigh the task!

Glad I could encourage you with the hub.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 20, 2016:

You've live by a very Christian philosophy of trying make life better for everyone you touch. I agree that when you make one person happy, the happiness spreads through those who pass it on. Must be fun to ride on your bus.

Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 15, 2016:


Just got an email that this hub got moved to one of the 'Letterpile' so I'm pretty stoked about that and wanted to say thank you to you all for recommending it.


Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 14, 2016:


So true, I knew when I posted this I was going to be 'challenged' with it for the rest of the week, wish I could say 'passed with flying colours' but more like just 'passed'.

Still the feedback even from a few work colleagues has been really good and I'm 'stoked' it's helped people see what a difference the taking charge of the attitude can make!

Glad it helped.


William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on October 14, 2016:

"That's where we start, deciding each and every day who's going to be in charge of the day, is going to be circumstance, or is it going to be you? That's where it begins, Lawrence - absolutely. Thank you for being a change in my world.

Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 13, 2016:


It was fun to write too! It's not always easy to live out, but the best part is every person is a new beginning!

Glad you found it encouraging.


Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on October 13, 2016:

What a lovely, positive hub. It was fun, but also informative and I loved the images, too. A great encourager!

Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 10, 2016:


Glad you enjoyed it


Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on October 10, 2016:

Interesting read.

Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 10, 2016:


I can't help it! I've gotten 'addicted' to brightening people's day up!

I agree, it would be great if it was 'second nature' but some folks are so used to getting 'kicked while they're down' they can't help being 'cranky'.

Having said that, you see them slowly change when they get respect, it just takes a little positive attitude.


Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 10, 2016:


To me, attitudes are infectious! Positive ones are great because they change others for the better and that's got to be good!

You're right about the 'one reader at a time' and this morning, for me, it'll be one passenger at a time.

Have a good week.


Glen Rix from UK on October 10, 2016:

Pleased to read that you are spreading the message that treating people respectfully makes a nicer world. It ought to be second nature to people who were raised properly. Good manners are taught at home. I wonder when the practice of courtesy started to erode. When did kids stop giving up a seat on the bus for adults? When did they drop the custom of addressing adults as Mr/Mrs and start using first names?

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 10, 2016:

I completely agree with you, Lawrence. We writers change the world one reader at a time. We all can change our little corner of the world simply by being human with others. Great points!


Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 09, 2016:


You just named one of the biggest issues, grumpy drivers! There's a small group of us drivers here in Hamilton working to fix the problem here, and there's probably a few where you are who're trying to do the same!

For me, I'm enjoying the job too much to want to do it any other way!



Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on October 09, 2016:

In regards to changing the world, Mother Teresa said help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you. I think you are doing a magnificent job at this, because I am one of those people who rides the bus on purpose, even though I have a car. I have run into some surly bus drivers who see me coming but dash off anyway after I flag them down, who tell me my compass card doesn't work and I need to get a new one even when I don't, who play bowling with standing passengers by slamming on the brakes unexpectedly, etc. I am sure they get it as good as they get it, and that is why they are surly. But I certainly admire your patience in what is definitely a difficult job, and I admire your attitude to want to be a positive influence by touching lives. Magnificent hub.

Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 09, 2016:


You'd all be welcome. For me, I just love having days when i can enjoy doing what I'm doing and helping others do the same.

I knew when I posted the hub I was setting myself up a bit and sure enough things happen that try to take that attitude away, but I'm not letting it!

Glad you enjoyed the hub


John Hansen from Gondwana Land on October 09, 2016:

What a great lesson you provide here, Lawrence. We should all naturally show everyone we meet respect..and go out of our way to make their day a little easier if possible. I know that this would help change the world. An act of kindness is a powerful thing and the more people that practice it the more powerful it becomes. I'd love to take a trip on one of your buses. Great hub.

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