One Sunday in May I decided to go downtown and ride the bus around. A Sunday drive, as most folks would say. Once I was downtown I got on bus 56 BRT limited stops headed towards Rivergate. I wasn’t really going anywhere particular, just enjoying the day.
As the bus was traveling down Gallatin Road making its stops, one particular situation caught my eye. The bus stopped at Neelys Bend at the Walgreens on Gallatin Road. A couple got on the bus with a little boy. Behind them, I noticed there was a young man struggling with a wheelchair. The crazy thing about it though, is that it wasn’t even really a wheelchair, it was a Geri Chair. You see, Geri Chairs are used in nursing homes to transport patients in and out of bed, and are especially not made to transport long distance! These chairs only have four small wheels. They don’t even have the two big wheels like a regular wheelchair.
The young man was pulling her up a grassy hill toward the bus. He should have been pushing her up the hill instead. So when I saw that he was having trouble getting her up the hill I got up and headed off the bus to assist him. He lost his grip on the chair and not only was it going down the hill so was the lady! YAP! She then started sliding out of the chair.
By this time the bus driver noticed what was happening. He jumped off the bus to assist as well. By the time the driver got off the bus, the lady had already slid out of her chair and was rolling down the hill, which wasn’t good at all. At the bottom of the hill was asphalt. I was so afraid she was going to hit the asphalt and really get hurt.
The man who had got on the bus before I saw this whole thing also got up to help the woman. Come to find out, he was her son-in-law. The whole time he was out there helping he was fussing and raising Cain, which I thought was uncalled for. He was yelling at her and telling her to stop stiffening up because she was “dead weight.” I just can’t believe the lady that got on the bus with him was letting him talk to her mother like that. If that had been my mom he would not have talked to her like that I assure you.
The bus driver had got the Geri Chair and was holding it at the bottom of the hill, and the young man and the other dude got her up in the chair. The driver and myself was just shaking our heads like man we can’t believe this is happening. Before I got back on the bus I told the guys that they need to push her around the grass and keep her on asphalt so it wouldn’t happen again. Once she was on the bus the driver strapped her in and we were once again on our way.
I turned and asked her daughter why she was in a Geri Chair instead of a regular wheelchair. She told me it hadn't been five years since she got her last one. Bull crap, I thought to myself. If she got insurance and the doctor wrote a script for it she could get one. I told her, “Sweetie that chair you got her in is very dangerous. It's not made push her around in like you are doing. And if her insurance won’t pay for one she can go to Goodwill they usually have some there really cheap.”
I was sitting behind the lady and kept asking her if she was all right. “Sweetie are you hurt anywhere?” She would only nod her head. I’m not even sure if she could talk. Hell, she may have been to scared to talk, thinking she might get in trouble if she did. I was just trying to make sure she was all right. Her daughter should of been asking her the things I was asking her. Best believe if it was my mom, I would. If you ask me, and I hate to say this, but I believe they couldn't care less about the lady. It was the first of the month, so you can assume she had her check and by the looks of it they were all off to spend her money.
The more I talked to them the angrier I got. The young man who was pushing the chair was the only one that seemed to care for the woman. As the bus was moving her chair was moving a little as well and the young man and I were holding the chair to keep it from moving and keeping her from sliding out again. Plus, he kept saying, “Momma you all right?”
My stop was coming up so I walked towards the driver and asked him his name. He replied, “O.” I said, “O, man you are an awesome bus driver for what you done back there! ’Cause I know y'all are not supposed to do what you done back there. Y'all are only to strap them in once they get on the bus.” Most drivers would have let them do it on their own or driven off because if they can’t get on the bus without assistance they are supposed to get on the access bus.
With all this being said, I pray that the little lady is OK. And, “O” YOU ARE AWESOME! Keep doing what you are doing. If the world had more caring people like you it would be a safer and happier place today. MTA should be grateful to have a great bus driver like you. On Mondays anytime after 1 p.m. you can catch Mr. O out there in Bellevue. You’ll know it’s him by looking for that warm and smiling face with a little silver in it. Once again, “O’’ you are an AWESOME YOUNG MAN. LOVE YOU TO PIECES DUDE!
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