Not as early this morning as I would have preferred, I jumped the Metrobus up to the grocery store in Van Ness. Stepped in, did my shopping, packed my grocery bag, and waited patiently at the stop south while reading The Hard Way.
The bus pulled up, and I got on: it was refreshingly mostly empty.
Until we got the Cleveland Park Metro entrance. There was a crowd of literally thirty tourists — a handful of adults, but mostly girls (class trip?) — trying to board with their paper fare cards from the Metro system. The driver explained that the cards didn’t work on the bus, and while the group leader tried to wave some of the children off, the driver waved the whole group onto the bus, without payment. “I’ll get you there,” he said.
The group mostly settled into the back of the bus, but the group leader wound up standing next to my seat (I’d pulled my grocery bag onto my lap: she could have taken a seat). “I think we ought to tip the driver,” one of the male adults said to her.
“Do you have any cash?”
“Only fives, no singles.”
Yep: so the bus driver lets a couple of dozen people aboard, and they’re thinking of tipping him with a single. dollar. bill.
Turns out the crowd was heading for the Zoo. “We want the third stop, guys!” I’ll give them this: they knew how many bus stops they had to go to. What they didn’t realize was that the bus didn’t service the Cleveland Park library stop, so they almost overshot. But the driver pulled over at the Zoo, and the group disembarked. The bus was once again refreshingly empty.
And as we pulled away, I realized the group had actually tried to tip the driver with several singles: he was feeding them, one by one, into the meter.