Betty Bus

In a coastal city in the U.S.A., there was a beautiful trolley bus named Betty. Betty Bus had the best route in the entire city. Through her headlights, she could see the ocean lapping against the city’s seawall. Betty Bus watched ships from around the world come and go; when her driver, Noel guided her over the harbor lookout.

Betty was the most beautiful bus in the city’s fleet. She was bright red with a trolley car façade. Her interior features included polished oak seats with leather cushions, brass decorations and handrails, leather hand grips for standing riders, and a resonant large brass bell. Betty Bus loved having Noel ring the bell. Noel loved Betty Bus. He enjoyed ringing her bell for waiting riders. The bus had an adjustable cushioned leather seat for the driver, oak steering wheel, and a polished oak handle on a brass chain to ring Betty’s exterior bell.

Betty Bus transported an assortment of upscale riders. Tourists and conventioneers loved her scenic downtown routes. The bus took people to the city’s museums, beaches, seawall, downtown hotels, aquarium, and fine restaurants. Betty loved to hear compliments; when her wheels were rolling on the city’s best streets in the revitalized downtown area. Lawyers, doctors, and other executives rode Betty to reach downtown offices in high-rise buildings overlooking the city’s marina. Betty Bus did not mind an occasional street dweller riding on her fir green leather cushions. She knew she would be cleaned, polished, waxed, refueled, and have a peaceful sleep every night. Betty’s driver, Noel also preened her; whenever the bus and her driver companion had a break.

One morning when Noel greeted Betty Bus; he told her, “Today we are going to a remote area of the city.” Betty Bus was confused; but she trusted Noel. Betty saw new sites thru her headlight eyes rolling on the expressway. For the first time, she saw shopping malls, used car lots, and billboards. The bus experienced her first early morning traffic jam and miles of seemingly endless blacktop road. When crossing a bridge over an unfamiliar salt water bay, Betty Bus saw white pelicans and roseate spoonbills birds for the first time. “Wow!” thought Betty.

After a brief stop at a buses’ transit station, life changed. There were no tourists wearing Hawaiian shirts and expensive cargo shorts. No passengers had designer suits or ties, either. Many people boarding Betty Bus were wearing old T-shirts. Some had holes in their bargain store jeans, or ragged shorts. There were people carrying heavy shopping bags. Dirty worn baseball caps, toolboxes, bags of groceries, and crying babies replaced Betty Bus’s familiarity with trendy designer clothing and leather briefcases. “Yuck!” the beautiful bus thought. Then a baby puked on Betty’s elegant leather cushions.

People streamed off and on the bus continuously all day. There was no time for breaks and/or preening. Betty found herself rolling on an extremely bumpy street filled with liquor stores and beer pubs. The prima donna bus was appalled; when a slightly intoxicated homeless person dropped a paper bag with an open quart of beer on her highly polished floor. The bus was not happy transporting the day’s riders, and reluctantly followed Noel’s skilled driving commands, backfiring with bangs on purpose.

By day’s end, the prima donna bus was filthy with people’s sweat, dirt, and trash. Her steel frame and tires were bruised and sore from streets filled with potholes. Noel asked Betty Bus, “Would you like to stop at a church to pray for the people you met today?”

A Special Thank You to Julian Carranza, Bus Driver, CCRTA. Carranza was a very positive inspiration for writing Betty Bus.

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