Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Muni (Wo)man of the Month
Back in the Sexist Seventies, there was an amusing employee appreciation program where one could nominate one's favorite bus drivers for "Muni Man of the Month," and the selected operator would be treated to a thank-you lunch at a downtown hotel and their faces were plastered all over the bus signage. The program fell into disuse sometime in the 1990s, which is too bad, as now we're faced with the prospect of declining service while paying Muni's director Nathaniel Ford over $300,000 for doing not much more than adding a new layer of overpaid bureaucrats to management. Maybe they should consider an obvious public relations gesture and reinstate the program, while paying for the lunches out of their own overstuffed wallets.
My personal nomination for Muni Operator of the Month would be the lady above, who was driving the 47 Van Ness with skill and charm this morning. This particular bus line is usually filled with a bizarre mixture of homeless dragging all their belongings from one shelter to another, drunks, drug addicts, Silicon Valley employees on their way to the Caltrain station, people visiting the Hall of Justice for probation or jury duty, tourists, and the just plain crazy. This eccentric combination has driven a couple of the usual drivers to the edge of psychosis, but the lady above was filled with such good humor and joy that she effectively defused all bad situations. She even got out of the bus at one point to hug one of three blind people who had driven part of the way with us just because she loved them. "God is by your side," she said at one point to a friend, and I believed her, because He/She is definitely at her side.