Meandering Thoughts

My American Life - Ambussadors

Arriving in a new city, country or continent you start with a blank slate and so first impressions are going to have a disproportionate impact. During my move to the States, my first potentially troublesome interaction came with a bus driver: I only had about 5 times the fare, not the exact change required, on the other hand, I was allowed to travel for free—with the university card that I had not picked up yet! Fortunately, he was convinced by my visa document and waived the fee. On the bus, a lovely senior citizen reassured me that the hills were real and got the bus driver to drop me off at the right stop.

Those days, I relied on the bus drivers, for their bus service and for directions, making connections and suggesting which stop to hop off. With the road works going on this was very helpful and kept me going to the places I needed to go in a timely fashion. Without this, and the bike rack that each bus has on its front I would have been stranded 10 miles from my new home with my newly acquired bike (from Craigslist, obviously) in the dark with no lights. Not a good place to be.

Public transport (depending on your income) is normally a big part of this first impression and in this case the buses with their bike racks, helpful drivers and free1 transport were ambassadors of hospitality.

  1. The university pays $75 per semester per student to the Port Authority. 

By Henk-Jaap Wagenaar.

Last generated: 2022-05-16 15:33