If you felt like going ice skating this past Tuesday afternoon or early evening, you didn’t have to go down to Fountain Square to use the skating rink or even have a pair of skates with you. The sidewalks of Cincinnati were all you needed. People were slipping and sliding everywhere – including me.
Walking around downtown, I managed to make it to Government Square to catch my bus without falling on my ass – and as luck would have it, the No. 6 bus was immediately there to take me home.
This was around six in the evening. The sun had already gone down. The streetlights over the road reflected shiny roads and sidewalks. Ice.
The bus driver was an older man – bald and a little heavy. He was paying close attention to the road, but his mind was also on his passengers.
As passengers got on and off the bus, he would always tell them to watch their step – to be careful and mindful of the icy sidewalks.
When we reached Queen City Avenue, the ice was even worse. More passengers were now getting off rather than getting on. Getting off the bus was becoming tricky with the ice covered sidewalks.
One woman trying to get off almost fell. The bus driver yelled for her to get back on the bus.
“We’ll try to find you a spot where you can get off without falling,” he said.
He inched the bus along looking for a spot that had some grass in front of the sidewalk. After a few timid stops, he found a place where there was some grass and also a trash can.
“Let’s try this,” he told the woman. “Stay on the grass, reach for the trash can and stand there until you’re sure of your footing.”
The woman got off the bus and didn’t fall. She stood there for maybe a minute. The bus stayed parked until the woman started to walk and appeared safe.
From that point on, regular bus stops were pretty much ignored. Passengers wanting to get off the bus told the driver where it would be safer for them to exit – or the bus driver would suggest getting off at a place where there was more grass to walk on rather than the ice covered sidewalks.
When the bus approached my stop on Werk Road, I told the driver where my normal stop was.
“We’ll let you off a few feet before that,” he said. “Try to stay on the grass as much as you can on the walk home. Please be careful.”
I took the bus driver’s advice, walked on the grass and while I had a few close calls, I managed to reach my place without falling.
Acts of kindness in Cincinnati: I’ll take them when I can get them. This bus driver driving the No. 6 on that early icy night really cared about his passengers and their being safe. This is one Metro rider who appreciated it.
(Photo from flickr.com)