Bus Stopper


Bob Elliott of the Bob and Ray comedy team tells of an extraordinary ride he took on a bus in New York City:

The driver greeted all the riders by saying, “No smiling, please!”  The passengers, some of them shoppers hefting packages up the steps, looked at the driver in amazement. Then they smiled. Even the sourest-looking people would smile.

As each of new group boarded, the announcement was repeated. “We don’t allow smiling on this bus,” the driver would say. “No smiling while bus in motion, please,” he might add, as the bus got under way.

The reaction to this psychology was infectious. After half a dozen blocks nearly everyone aboard was indeed smiling —even discussing the phenomenon with the passenger in the next seat. All the while they enjoyed the reaction of new riders as they got the same treatment.

When they reached their stops, many passengers exited by the forward door to thank the driver for the experience. They said, “Have a nice day.” Of course everybody says that; it’s kind of cornball to say it. But I really do believe it made everybody’s day.

—Glen Collins in New York Times

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