This morning I witness the epitome of Israeli rudeness – not that any of the following wouldn't have happened just as easily in New York City – the infallibly irritable attitude of the Jerusalem bus driver.
The first incident was a fairly common occurrence with bus drivers here. At Kikar Denya, in front the Mister Zol supermarket where I was waiting for my own bus to ulpan, a girl desperately sprinted after her #21 bus. While the door had closed by the time she reached it, there was clearly enough time for the drive to reopen said door, as he hadn't even started moving the vehicle yet. But I guess that would've been too inconvenient for him.
The girl knocked pleadingly on the glass door, but as she was doing so, he sped away as quickly as possible. She returned to the sidewalk and succumbed to defeat.
A major portion of my ride – on the #20 bus – was rather uncomfortable, with my bus driver jolting to such a short stop at one point that another woman and I nearly took a plunge on the bus floor. Luckily, we both caught ourselves with the nearby polls.
Later, as we were bumping along and arrived at the stop just before mine at Nevi'im Street – at the junction of Rehov Yafo and Rehov Shlomtzion HaMalka – an elderly man was struggling to make his way down the middle set of stairs and exit the bus. Obviously, the driver was not paying attention to his passengers whatsoever, and he shut the door in the man's face as he was partially out of the vehicle.
Immediately, the old man fell backwards, landing flat on his backside right onto the floor of the bus. Three men rushed out of their seats to help him, yelling various Hebrew epithets at the careless driver while escorting the shocked passenger, who luckily escaped unscathed, down to safety. Meanwhile, the driver had no response – not even an apology – for the old man or those who had helped him, and quickly resumed speeding along his precarious bus route.
Sure, driving a bus is not the ideal profession for anyone, I would guess. And of course, the typical passenger is hardly respectful of the driver, so why should he or she (though I have yet to find a she) make strides to be polite in return?
But among the slew of grumpy and resentful drivers out there, I've found my share of nice drivers, those who don't begrudge you simply for requesting a transfer ticket and instead engage in friendly conversation, or at the minimum, at least give you a half smile.
Perhaps Egged should require a bit more than a driver's license when considering potential employees.
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