First things first, Happy Thanksgiving to the Americans. May your turkey be juicy and your stuffing delicious. Today I am thankful that it is very unlikely that I will be receiving loads of annoying queries from the NY branch of my company. Go pilgrims! Never mind the religious hypocrisy and mistreatment of indigenous peoples, you have in a round about way, saved me two afternoons worth of hassle. I salute you (in a limited fashion),
last night I was on the 63 heading home from the city. At the bottom of Peckham Rye I got off the bus and tried to catch the 343. The 343 unsurprisingly pulled away from the kerb just as I got to the door. As I turned around to head to a less crowded spot on the pavement I saw that a woman had ridden her bike up to the bus I just gotten off of. She stopped in front of the bus and waved at the driver yelling (to get over the noise of the bus and traffic) “You nearly knocked me over! You nearly killed me!” The driver opened his window and shouted for her to get out of the way, with expletives, and she took out her phone to take a photo of the front number plate.
When the driver saw her do this he stormed off the boss and began shouting more abuse at her. Here I would like to point out that this woman was shorter than me, so maybe 5’3″ and possibly 100 lbs. The driver was over 6 feet and not huge, but pretty damn big. He continued to shout at her and then grabbed her arm and the front of her bike and tossed her out of the way. Her shoes were still attached to the bicycle so she had no way of maintaining her balance.
I had started to shout at him at this point, as had two other women, most everyone else was just minding their own business and ignoring the situation. The cyclist picked herself up and started to step in front of the bus again. The driver got back on the bus himself, I followed and wrote his ID number down, all the while saying “You can’t treat people like this! It’s not right!” His considered and thoughtful response was to tell me to fuck off.
He slammed his door shut and sped off, nearly hitting the cyclist again.
She called the cops and one of the other women ran into the shop nearby to get her some water and a soda. The cyclist started to cry so I dug some kleenex out of my bag and another woman rubbed her shoulders and helped her with the details. I held out my hand where I wrote down the ID number for her, and the first lady came back with a Sprite, “I thought the sugar would be good,” she said.
We all gave her our contact info in case the police wanted it. When I got home I called TfL and made a complaint directly to them. The whole situation infuriates me in two big ways
- The driver’s behaviour was ridiculous and frightening. This man needs to be fired and sent to an anger management class at the very least. How could he even think this was a remotely acceptable way to handle the situation?
- The reaction of the other witnesses. No one else tried to confront or stop the driver, they just stood by and let him attack a much smaller woman. If even two more people had tried to step in this may not have happened. It’s shameful, I know that makes me sound like an old woma, but it’s true.
Commuting on the bus is bad enough, it just gets worse when you witness an assault on our way home and are then yelled at by an asshole driver. I don’t often miss having a car and driving into work, but last night I definitely did.