Executive Speech Writing: Corporate, Celebrity, Fundraisers

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tips and Bus Drivers

Ralph Kramden What days these are. Cold, brisk. Getting colder, brisker. Newspapers are flying off my pile, and the bucks are coming in nicely. Tips? Not so good. No one stops to talk, and that's when I'll see the biggest tippers. Mostly, and I'm not complaining here, the tip will be the guy or gal paying me a buck for a fifty cent paper. If more people did that, I might be able to drive to work and actually afford parking. They don't, and and I can't. The L and CTA: that's my life.

The CTA is a mess. The drivers are fine, but the leaders are terrible when it comes to managing them. Find me a happy driver, and I will be surprised.

It isn't just the CTA. Bus drivers in general. These guys doing all the corporate and college driving? We're not dealing with the posh Winnetka crowd here. Long hours. Some are being asked to report fewer hours than they drive because of legal reasons. We call that lying and/or cheating.

Meanwhile, they take heat from riders. Sure, some are nice, I know. Some are great. But then there's the backseat driver types. The complainers. The drunks. The racists. The arrogants. It goes on.

Imagine the entire congregation of the church of mankind crammed into a bus. Take out the lower income people. Then, remember the quiet ones aren't the trouble. It is the ones who forget you've got a guy who had to buy his own GPS system because his bus company gives him bad directions. They forget the guy has had little sleep, and, unlike a cushy corporate job, he can't goof off with a coffee break when he needs a buzz.

Even I get coffee breaks.

They work long hours for nothing. $20-25,000 a year, no insurance, no anything. If anyone deserves tips, it is the bus driver. I'm not talking Ralph Kramden here (he's the "to the moon" guy on the old TV show, "The Honeymooners," for you younger kids). Real bus drivers.

What can the bus driver do? Quit? No. He needs the money. Strike? How? Same thing, too -- money. He needs the cash. Like me, it is all hand to mouth. Savings are for rich people. My buddy Vlad - he's a bus driver. Sure, he has savings. Like $2500. How long will this last him?

Help the guy out. Slip him a fiver on the way out the door.

The News
  • Bears stink.
  • George Ryan's in the clink.
  • About Kanye West's mother, Donda West, I don't know what to think.

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