The Unbearable Banishment: A moral quandary: Epilogue

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A moral quandary: Epilogue

I wrote to the bus company and sent the photos of their best and brightest texting while speeding down the New Jersey Turnpike. I wrestled with whether or not to turn him in. I surmised that it could cost him his job and I don't know if I want that on my hands.

In the end, I took the sage advice that the good Chef left in my comment section. When I was laid off in 2009, that dude provided some words of encouragement (first comment) that I revisited over and over again. They got me through a dark tunnel, so when he talks, I listen. I didn't identify the driver. I blackened out his face, thus:

My note to the bus bosses was dripping with my trademark Unbearable Sarcasm. I didn't expect to ever hear from them but they wrote back almost immediately.


Thanks for sending this.

You are absolutely right that this type of action by the driver is unacceptable. The driver's action is not only contrary to company policy but, more importantly, illegal.

We hold countless safety meetings during each year and topics like cell phone use are discussed regularly.

For us to appropriately deal with this issue we would have to speak with the driver directly. Do you remember your departure time or the bus number?

Yes, I know the departure time and bus number because I wrote it down. But I haven't responded. I also know what "appropriately deal with this issue" is a euphemism for. I confided with another driver and he assured me this guy would be unceremoniously tossed out onto the cold, hard sidewalk. I've been tossed out onto the sidewalk, albeit with an apology and and a fat severance check, but it still sucked. I can't do that to another man. What a rotten manager I'd make. I guess I'm a people person after all.

*     *     *

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking this is a plate of Mrs. Wife's astonishing, slow-cooked (six and a half hours!) pot roast. But you'd be wrong. This is a plate of autumn. It's a plate of changing leaves, a crisp breeze, thick woolen sweaters, first nights on Broadway, Sunday football and, soon enough, 5th Avenue adorned in bright holiday lights. I do a lot of complaining here but, honestly, I never lose sight of how lucky I am.


Blogger Sausage said...

You did what you had to do. the last six years as a small business owner have been shite on a stick, the ups and downs of economic bullshit have taken a toll on me as well as the inventory of the local whisky shop. That being said after looking at the note you received from "The Company" It makes me glad that I have myself as a boss even though if I don't sell I don't eat. Like the Chef said back in the day chin up and walk on. Cheers, Sausage...

October 11, 2012 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

UB, Perhaps you should once again revisit that period of your life and ask yourself who really made things right. The hard work was done by you my friend, you made things happen, you dug deep and turned bad into good. Perhaps you are unaware that your nature was also a lesson to some of us searching for an even keel in life.

The credit goes to you for finding the strength that was with you all along. These days I count you as a friend. Again, that was your doing. I don't accept just anyone into my circle, just ask Map.

You made the right call in regard to the bus driver. Well done.

October 11, 2012 at 12:39 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Sausage: I wish I was ambitious enough to strike out on my own but I've always been the type of guy who would prefer to work for THE MAN and count on a steady paycheck. That comes at a price but overall, it's how I'm most comfortable.

Chef: You provided a well-aimed, much needed boot in the ass. I was feeling sorry for myself and you picked me up by the scruff of my neck, shook me a few times, and set me back down on my feet. 3+ years ago and I still remember it.

October 11, 2012 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger Gorilla Bananas said...

Yes, it's a lucky man who can feel a thick woollen sweater on him. Less lucky men have to hug sheep, which can lead to unspeakable acts. Do you prefer broccoli or spinach?

October 11, 2012 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

GB: How do you know I don't hug sheep? Perhaps I DO know what that feels like. Don't assume.

October 11, 2012 at 1:23 PM  
Blogger sukipoet said...

being of an older, more cautious generation,(pre-cell phones etc) i would be thinking in this instance of accidents that could happen when a driver isnt paying attention, thus injuring or worse bus passengers and any cars on the highway near the bus should the bus have an accident.

it is hard to turn someone in, but when their action might compromise the safety of others it seems the right thing to do.

i can say i wouldnt want to be a passenger in this man's bus.

October 11, 2012 at 3:12 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

You didn't exactly do what Chef suggested but I, too would have shrunk from a face to face.
How great of you to remember and acknowledge another's wise words. Chef isn't just a pretty face.

October 11, 2012 at 3:54 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

suki: It wasn't an easy call. I was torn. Fortunately, he rarely drives my regular time. That might have made a difference. Might have. I can't say.

Pat: I have every intention of having a little chat with the errant driver the next time I see him. I've no qualms about that. The opportunity hasn't presented itself yet.

October 11, 2012 at 4:24 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

Atta boy!

October 11, 2012 at 6:20 PM  
Anonymous paulo1 said...

I hope we're not going to fall out over this, but when all's said and done I can see that you've taken the right course, particularily considering you blacked out the man's face. I'd hate to think, as you clearly do, that I'd put someone out of a job. A quiet word in his ear, at the next opportunity, should put the whole matter to rest.

October 11, 2012 at 7:41 PM  
Blogger dinahmow said...

Thank you. Which, I suspect, is what many passengers and their loved ones would say.

And aside from moral dilemmas...people, will you go back to the last bit, about "...a plate of autumn..." and read it again. If I was still marking essays I'd give it a tick.

October 11, 2012 at 7:47 PM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

can almost guarantee that Big Bus Corporation will let it be known that a driver was photographed breaking the law. and if you happen to drop a word in the drivers ear that you'd taken a picture? i could almost guarantee you that he won't do it again. the mother of all behaviour corrections...

the 'plate of autumn' sounds delicious. and i want to come back to NYC for the shinyprettybright lights. gonna have to make that happen, cap'n...

October 11, 2012 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

paulo: A fallout would require a much more grievous offense than this! Unfortunately, I don't see this particular driver often. But when I do...

dinah: Thank you for your tick. I massaged that paragraph a bit before posting and am happy it was noticed.

daisy: Do you remember the outdoor bar by the skating rink at Bryant Park where we drank? It's going to open soon. Meet me there!

October 12, 2012 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger savannah said...

thanks, pal! i read this yesterday, but didn't comment because i was too deep in a pity party. today, i read the comments and realized what a great group of pals i have! all y'all don't even know how helpful your words are when spirits are low. thanks again.

October 13, 2012 at 12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe now reply to the bus company saying that you'd prefer to have a word yourself, if they could remind all drivers about the law on mobile phone use? They were good enough to reply after all.

October 19, 2012 at 2:26 AM  
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