This is the second in a series of stories about chance interactions on local transit.
Snow, rocks and a blockhead
In a career spanning 15 years, the Metro driver has endured several harrowing episodes — including a snowstorm as he skidded down Madison hill, on his first day without a trainer aboard. Later, maneuvering the No. 7 through Rainier Valley he and his passengers ducked as gunshots rocked the bus.
A supervisor, who was called to examine the coach, discovered the bullets were really rocks —thrown by bored kids on a hot summer’s night. The driver was so shook up he couldn’t finish his shift. But the incident that stands out most in his mind was another kind of assault.
“I had a domestic violence case,” recalls the driver, a goatee sprouting from his chin. “It was a baby mama, and baby daddy thing.” The couple had broken up, but unfortunately met on the bus. “She was on her way to see her new boyfriend. She told him she was going out on a date with the new guy.”
" 'No you ain't,' " her ex declared and locked her into a full nelson." The driver demonstrates how the man snaked his arms beneath the woman's elbows, and pressed his palms against her neck. "That’s how it started."
" 'You might want to get off the bus before I call the police and you go to jail,' " the driver recalls saying. "The scary part is that he didn’t mind. He held her in that position until the police got to the bus.” That was about 20 minutes later. The officers arrested the man.
The operator shakes his knit-capped head, amazed that the man would rather be shackled than release his ex-girlfriend. “Now she’s really gonna have some fun and you can’t do anything about it behind bars.”
“She definitely provoked it but at the end of the day, he has to restrain himself,” the driver concludes.