Service of the Golden Rule Ignored

November 13th, 2023

Categories: Bus Trips, Empathy, Etiquette, Golden Rule, New York City, Theatre

Golden Rule

I often wonder if people think about the ramifications of their actions. Empathy needs to be taught and it seems to have been left out as a priority for too many.

Please stay silent, dear audience

I attended an amateur production of a musical in a small theater filled largely with the actors’ friends. I was on the verge of screaming “STOP PLEASE” if I heard another earsplitting “WHOOOOOOOOOO!” in the middle of a song or after an uttered inconsequential phrase or when a minor actor appeared on stage. Did these people think that they were at a sports event? If it happened once or twice, OK. But it was constant. Grumble.

In addition to the usual request to turn off phones and unwrap candies before the start of the production, I wish the audience was also asked to leave the hollered WHOOOOOOs and shrieks in a stadium or at least to wait for the end of a song though better yet—don’t do it at all. Energetic and enthusiastic applause and a standing ovation at the end says it all.

Do you need to pull away so soon?

Even if I’m not hoping to catch a bus, it drives me nuts when the driver pulls away from the stop just a few feet, only to brake for a red light. [See the photo below for placement of bus stop and traffic light.] I’ve written about this before and have notified the MTA as well. Because they are no longer at the bus stop, even though a few feet away, most drivers won’t open the door for a passenger pleading to get in. Aren’t the drivers supposed to transport as many passengers as possible?

A friend caught up with a bus on a weekend and asked the driver to please wait a moment for her colleague who is disabled and can’t run. The driver responded that there was a bus right behind [which any New Yorker knows is subject to interpretation as “right behind” might be eight minutes away]. The driver closed the door on her face. She yelled through the closed door, “she’s here!” The driver hesitated before reopening the door. Her friend thanked him and slowly slipped her MetroCard in the fare slot. Off flew the driver—using his gas pedal to show his anger and impatience. Her friend, unsteady on her feet, almost fell.

Empathy, compassion and etiquette would eliminate these irritations don’t you think? Can you share other instances of Golden Rule trashed?

From a bus stop like this one the driver can see the traffic light and should not pull away if the light is red.

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12 Responses to “Service of the Golden Rule Ignored”

  1. TC Said:

    JEANNE, I CAN CERTAINLY UNDERSTAND THE BUS DRIVER TALE. BACK IN THE 1940’s, LIVING IN MANHATTAN, AND LIKE MOST FOLKS WHO DID NOT TAKE CABS EVERYWHERE, BUS DRIVERS SEEMED TO COME FROM ANOTHER PLANET. WITH HEAVY FOOT ON BOTH BRAKE AND ACCELERATOR. TAKING JOY IN SEEING FOLKS WADE THROUGH PUDDLES TO BOARD, HAVING PASSENGERS DESPERATELY GRAB AND HOLD ON, IGNORING PLEAS TO GET OFF. IT ALL BECAME SO INGRAINED IN OUR DAILY LIVES THAT IT SEEMED LIKE A GAME OF MUTUAL MASOCHISM. PLUS CA CHANGE.

  2. BC Said:

    People feel over worked, and under paid. They have deadlines to meet
    on their bus routes, or whatever it is they do for a living. Inflation is
    another annoying factor. Their paycheck does not stretch as far.

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:

    TC,

    Gosh! I thought that the advent of air brakes changed things for drivers as they can make the biggest, youngest, strongest passengers lose their footing. And while passengers are asked to get off using back doors, the yellow strip to touch that opens those doors doesn’t always work. If a passenger doesn’t have an operatic voice the driver, protected behind a sheet of thick plastic, can’t always hear him/her.

    I met a woman–now friend–some dozen years ago. She’s tiny and I caught her as she began to fly as she walked to her seat and the driver slammed on his brakes. Turns out we knew TWO people! So unlikely yet so New York.

  4. ASK Said:

    Is anyone teaching the “Golden Rule” and its corollaries any more? Teachers, parents, etc.? What about ethics and the foundations of civil societies. Certainly you won’t find these principles on social media, will you?

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:

    BC,

    I can’t sympathize with the excuse that someone is poorly paid. That’s not the fault of the customer. I think it’s a matter of self-respect–to do a job well. It also makes the day happier.

    According to a Google search, the average pay for a NYC bus driver is $27.63/hour, some $57,000/year. It requires that two members of a household work to live in NYC. This is true for most families. It’s a tough job, especially during rush hour.

    Imagine being a barista, a grocery store cashier, a traffic police person…..standing all day. Grocery and drug store cashiers are mostly nice as can be. I know a woman in her 70s who needs to work and spends 8 hours/day in a gift shop. She plans to ask for a raise. She makes $17/hour. She’s invested in her job and does it well even though she would like to be better paid.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    ASK,

    I don’t know. Anecdotally, I don’t think so.

    If remote working weren’t isolating enough, people listening to music or podcasts through earbuds are further isolated as they can’t hear or observe what’s going on around them or if anyone is speaking to them saying “good morning,” or “hello.” So if there are people who hold the door for others as they leave a restaurant or let others go before them in a grocery line or invite an older person to take the first taxi, the super isolated wouldn’t notice and learn.

  7. Loretta Adams Said:

    Loretta on Facebook: I think the bus drivers often are frustrated in NYC by vehicles that double park in bus lane causing them to continually have to maneuver a bus around them while trying to keep to schedule…,passengers on the bus may be getting the brunt of his/her impatience.

    I often empathize with the Amazon/UPS drivers/delivery staff who are not allowed to make turns on certain streets snd struggle with hand carts laden with boxes, endeavoring to balance them while negotiating foot traffic who are oblivious talking on their cell phones.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Loretta,

    A bus driver’s job is stressful and anxiety-provoking. It requires skill and patience. But it’s part of the assignment and it’s not the customer’s fault. And he/she is above ground. Imagine working in a subway all day.

    It’s no fun to work on a Saturday while friends and family have the day off–tell it to grocery clerks, nurses and doctors, real estate agents, airline staff etc.– but the impatient driver who ignored the disability of his passenger did not have a traffic or parking issue to contend with. And he had at least one passenger who counted on him to drive and behave responsibly.

    What if all of us took out on colleagues and clients/customers the frustrations of our jobs, the sorrows in our lives, the worries we bring to work, the hurdles our bosses/clients place in front of us? Thank goodness most don’t.

  9. Linda Levi Said:

    Linda on Facebook: Sadly I generally find civility and kindness low priorities these days.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Linda,

    I’m on the lookout for civility and kindness and if appropriate, I thank profusely or do what I can to recognize the person’s effort.

  11. Loretta Adams Said:

    Loretta on Facebook: I agree with all of what you have said, and by no means was I agreeing with his behavior, just pointing out in general we have lost respect for each other, and common manners.

  12. Martha Takayama Said:

    I constantly am saddened by the prevailing lack of manners, consideration, concern for other that prevails today. I dot know quite how it came to be or when it might change.

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