I write a lot about the miserable experiences I have on public transportation here in Stockholm. Lately, I’ve been listening to people tell me their horror stories from other cities. From the delays that is the Washington DC subway to the stench that is the Paris metro. And I haven’t really had much t complain about lately. Especially since having moved away from the accursed pendeltåg. The commuter train. Best described as a melding of the sweaty sliding shorts of an offensive lineman and the silence of a state funeral. It’s really just a joy.
But no more, now I take subways and trains everywhere I go. And while they have their moments, listening to others moan about their hometown public transportation I was feeling pretty good. Especially after an incident the other day.
I was late. Well, on the brink of being late. It’s a brink I spend a lot of my time on for some reason. I blame the internet. As a general rule I don’t run for trains and busses anymore. In fact, it’s been several months since I ran a half marathon and I haven’t taken a single hurried step since then. And it feels amazing. But, as I said, I was late. And not for work but for drinks with a couple of buddies. So there was something at stake.
I saw the bus pull up to the stop just behind me. I was never going to make it. So instead I hit the crosswalk button knowing that it would turn the light red buying me time to run to the next stop. Turns out I am still slow. And that red lights are short. As I was running, I noticed the bus pull over at the stop ahead. YES! Someone would be getting off, buying me even more time. But I was still a good 50 meters away (I am damn near European with the usage of the metric system by the way).
With my head down and my hairy little legs churning, I was on my way. I glanced up. No one was getting off the bus. First, a moment of happiness. Clearly there was an old person working their way down the stairs. Ess-ell, the Nordic God of public transportation, was on my side.
I continued on. The bus getting bigger. My legs getting weaker. I made it. Only to see the bus driver laughing at me. Turns out he enjoyed watching a large hairy guy struggle to make the bus. He stopped and waited for me. Clearly the nicest bus driver ever. Much better than Lee who always threatened to take us back to elementary school when we were too loud.
So thank you kind bus driver. You made my day. And from the deep belly laugh you had going when I stepped on, I hope I made yours.
Welcome to Sweden. And public transportation’s cuddly side.