I’m never letting this happen to me again as long as I live, I told myself, as I stood in the aisle of the 50 bus absolutely mortified. I wasn’t sure which feeling was worse, the embarrassment at the whole sorry situation or the fact that no one spoke up and defended me!
Way back in the last century (early seventies) when a car went in for a service it was gone for a couple of days, so this particular Monday our car was in the garage having its MOT.
Bakers didn’t work over the weekend either so that meant on Monday there was no fresh bread. My mother being the wonderful mother she was, always managed to get some, as her local grocery shop had a delivery of bread from Co. Kildare so that shop had fresh bread every Monday.
When I was finished work that particular day, I got the bus to my mother’s house and ran up had a quick chat and took my loaf of bread and went back out to get the bus home. I can still remember what that bread tasted like, really fresh and had the most delicious crust on it.
It began to rain, as I waited for the bus, typical you could say, but it arrived soon after. There were three people standing waiting on it and four people got off the bus. I was the third person and when I went to step onto the platform the bus conductor who wasn’t much older than myself at the time, said to me ‘the bus is full’. I thought he was joking, and I dipped under his outstretched arm and got onto the bus.
He came over to me and sternly said, ‘I said the bus is full’. I replied but four people got off and only three got on, that’s not fair. ‘I said the bus is full are you going to get off?’ he repeated. No, I said I am not. Right then he said to the bus driver, close the doors and call the guards.
Well, I nearly died. Being a law-abiding upstanding citizen, I had never been in trouble with the guards and couldn’t believe this was happening. Everyone just sat there tut tutting, it was rush hour and of course they all wanted to get home and this incident was delaying them. A young lad came down from upstairs and reported back to the other passengers about what was going on. The bus was on the Crumlin Road, just a few hundred yards from the Garda Station.
Just then an unmarked Garda car stopped in front of the bus. Out stepped a plain clothes detective and a Guard and they got on the bus. The detective came over to where the conductor and I were standing. What seems to be the trouble here? He asked. The conductor replied. This woman is refusing to get off the bus I told her it’s full.
The detective rolled his eyes to heaven and said, ‘Are you going to get off the bus?’ ‘You better believe I am’ I said. So, he accompanied me off the bus.
At this stage I am in floods of tears. While we were standing on the footpath the detective said to me, don’t worry about a thing love, I thought it was something serious. What a waste of time and money calling us out for something that trivial. But the conductor is the boss on his bus, and we have to come out if they call. Just wait for the next bus sure it will be up in a minute or two. He’s just a power tripper, he could well have allowed you to stay on the bus, some of them just let the job go to their head.
So true to form a couple of minutes later a bus arrived. I sat on the bus in shock, thinking how that whole incident could have been avoided, I really had no intention of causing any trouble. I didn’t realise that the bus conductor calls the shots and if he says get off you have to do so.
Just as I turned the key in the door, my husband met me in the hallway. You’ll never believe what has just happened to me I said. But before I could tell him I am in tears as he’s telling me that he should have been home much earlier to start the dinner, except the bus he was on was stopped on the Crumlin Road for what must have been half an hour. A young lad went downstairs to find out what the problem was, and he came back and said some ‘aul wan’ wouldn’t get off the bus!!
By now I’m weeping uncontrollably. Well, I said that ‘aul wan’ was me and proceeded to tell him about the saga in between the sobs. He was in fits of laughter listening to the story while he consoled me at the same time!
Isn’t it just gas, there we were on the same bus, he was upstairs and I downstairs, and neither of us knew! Well, the next morning going to work, I was afraid of my life in case that same conductor was on the bus and remembered me!!
It just goes to show, the importance of being on your best behaviour even if you are a law- abiding upstanding citizen!!