A Word from the Writista: Since When Do We Punish Good Behavior?

Saturday, 03 March 2012 16:12 Written by  Iya Bakare

After snaking to the back of the bus and train because inconsiderate people refuse to move, wrestling with and ducking from over-sized backpacks and handbags and shoving through those who block the exit doors, I look forward to seeing one of my favorite people who works for the city’s public transportation company during the week. He stands there, dressed in his work jumpsuit with a toothpick in his mouth and a smile to greet all of the passengers. Whether it was a wave, a friendly head nod or giving directions, he is graceful and pleasant. He has a special smile and handshake for me as he addresses me by name when he sees me walk up the stairs.

The past few days, he’s only received a wave from me because I was in a hurry to get to work. One day, I left early and something told me to spark a conversation. To my surprise, he told me he was not allowed to speak to passengers. My heart sunk. The look on his face and the tone of his voice didn’t sound like the handsome, confident man who I look forward to seeing every morning. I felt as if I stepped back into childhood for a moment in time, we were on a playground and he said we couldn’t be friends anymore. All I could do was say, “I’m sorry and I hope you have a good day.” I heard him say, “You too Iya” as I walked away in disbelief and disappointment.

I thought about it throughout the day and when I returned home from work. I think about it as I ride the bus and train, witnessing and listening to public transportation employees smack their lips when commuters ask for directions, grunt and ‘mean mug’ people. Not all of them act this way, and the one I know is a part of a handful of others I’ve grown to trust, admire and adore. He’s refreshing because he has an old-school flavor about him that is endearing.

So, to the public transportation powers that be…shame on you. Shame on you for trying to rob the joy of your productive, hard-working and kindhearted employees. Who doesn’t want to be around human contact and engage with others? You may have fallen asleep in health class, but human contact on some level is a part of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It may be obsolete now, but you get the point. And double shame on you for robbing passengers of that pleasant experience and exchange between us and those of your finest who serve us. Sometimes it can be the most pleasant part of our commute.


Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare, GMO's managing editor, earned both her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in print journalism. She earned her B.A. from Delta State University with a minor in English and graduated with a M.A. degree from Columbia College Chicago. In her spare time, the Chicago native continues to freelance and ponder ways to both inform and improve her community one story at a time.

She can be contacted at Iya@glossmagazineonline.com
Follow her on Twitter: @ibakare

Website: www.iyabakare.com