Last Night A Bus Driver Saved Our Life

1197642579Yesterday, we made a lot of jokes about snowshoeing home from Boston Daily HQ. We’re sure you made similar jokes with your coworkers as the flakes fell peacefully by the windows. But after last night’s hellish commute, we’ve all got horror stories to share. After the jump, we tell you about our slow, slippery crawl and the angel named Mike who saw us safely home.

Things started out so well. We caught the Orange Line at the Mass Ave stop. When we got to the platform at 2:50, a train was just pulling in. It was busy, but empty enough where we got a seat. At North Station, we got out and caught a Lechmere train in about five minutes.

This isn’t so bad, we foolishly thought.

1197642431Our spirits sank as we got above ground and caught a glimpse of the O’Brien Highway. Both the inbound and outbound sides of the roadway were gridlocked, and we could see flashing police lights through the heavy snow. We reluctantly got out of the warm train and stood around under the sleeping pigeons. A quick check of the schedule saw a bus was due to arrive around 3:15.

Finally, at 3:50, a bus roared into the busway. The people who were waiting around for other routes let out a moan while we jostled into position to board. Mike, the bearded bus driver who would turn out to be the best thing that’s happened to us all week, gruffly told everyone to get on the bus without paying.

“Don’t expect to get anywhere for a while,” he said, waving everyone past the fare box. We took our seat, convinced we’d be fine now that we were on a warm bus. Things went well at first, as Mike adeptly maneuvered the bus onto the McGrath Highway and we moved forward a few yards.

Then we stopped. We moved about a car length forward, then stopped again. We watched drivers get out of their cars to get the ice off their windshields. From time to time, Mike shifted the bus into park and rubbed his temples. After an hour, he asked those of us who were sitting to get up and give another passenger a chance to take a load off.

After we got up, we asked Mike how many runs he’d completed during the day.

“Um, none,” he said with a laugh. “It took me an hour and a half to get from Cambridge High School to Lechmere this afternoon.”

1197643931We stood still for what seemed like an eternity at the intersection of the McGrath Highway and Washington Street. A hearse crept by, causing us to make a “late to his own funeral” joke to Mike, who gave us a half-hearted chuckle. As we got closer to the base of a small hill, we saw what the holdup was. The two-lane road was essentially reduced to one as cars swerved up the slippery slope.

We asked Mike if the bus was easier to maneuver up a snowy hill than a car.

“Oh, we’re gonna slide,” he informed us, eyeballing the cars that fishtailed their way up the hill. We regretted our decision to give up our seat when we heard this.

1197644261When the light turned green, Mike got a good head of steam going as he approached the hill. We clutched the handrail with both hands as Mike got us halfway up. Suddenly, the car in front of us started to fishtail and stopped.

“Aw, come on,” Mike said, putting the breaks on the bus as horns started blaring behind us. Finally, the car made it up and the bus safely followed, not sliding once. Cheers and applause erupted from the passengers. Mike smiled.

We’ve had some unsafe bus drivers in our commuting experience, but Mike was great. He was as patient as could be expected, considered the needs of his passengers, and somehow navigated a city bus through four inches of snow without damaging anyone or any thing. We thanked him profusely after we got off the bus. Finally, at 5:15 we arrived at home—cold and snowy, but safe—thanks to Mike.