I thought I had seen it all, but yesterday’s experience on the bus takes the cake. You know from this blog and from countless other blogs out there, that the Berliner bus drivers have one of the worst reputations in the country, if not the continent. Well, let me add yet another story to that.
The bus route: M45 from Zoologische Garten to Spandau, basically the bus I take everyday.
The timeframe: 17:40 – 18:15
I was tired, and simply happy to be on the way home. The bus was full, as it always is during this time of the day. At the bus stop of Schloss Charlottenburg a mother and child got on the bus. I couldn’t see them because they were in the front part where the prams have their designated space. The child in question was a toddler and it was already crying when it got on the bus at 17:48. I know the time because I was on the phone at that moment and winced when the unhappy child came onboard, making it difficult to concentrate on the conversation. My phone call ended but the child’s incessant whining and crying didn’t.
It went on,
By the time we reached the Ruhleben U-bahn station (subway) at 18:13 the child was still crying and the other passengers were already frowning grumpily.
Then the most unexpected thing happened.
xcThe bus driver grabbed his microphone and shouted to the mother: Entschuldigen Sie dauert es noch lange mit diesem weinen?! (Excuse me, but will this crying last much longer?). This sentence is not grammatically correct, basically because the driver was not a native German to begin with, which made it all the more surprising. If I had been that mother I would have jumped off immediately. But instead, she covered the child’t mouth with her hand and the crying stopped. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief once we all snapped back into reality after hearing the announcement, and nobody dared say a word after that. It was the most silent bus ride ever!
Geez, if the driver was so annoyed he could have approached the woman and said something to her directly, why shame her like that publicly? It is a pity that I didn’t note the name of the driver to return the favour. I don’t care what country the bus drivers of the BVG originate from, they are all bound by the same code of ethics and a fundamental respect for passengers is something they live by. They don’t have to be friendly, but I demand politeness.
I, like thousands of other Berlin residents, pay a small fortune each month to be enrolled in the city’s public transportation system, which is one of the best in Europe if you ask me. Not the friendliest, but certainly efficient and extensive. I have no complaints if a passenger is fined the obscene amount of EUR 60 for not having a ticket or having an invalid one. Rules are rules Neither do I have an issue if another passenger is reprimanded for bringing a large dog without a muzzle, or eating on the subway. The signs are posted on all wagons, so ignorance of the law is no excuse. If a drunkard or an addict high on some substance is endangering the safety of others, by all means, have them removed forcibly, no problem. However, public shaming over a microphone of an individual for a crying child has to be considered a violation of civil liberties somehow.