great MN get-together

I got there four times this year.



haven't felt like writing anything

I'm done with instruction for a while. I was scheduled to work as a relief instructor yesterday, but was confused because I thought I was going to get back to driving. It turns out there was a mix up getting me back on my schedule. I spent the day on call.

And I got called. I got to drive the 971 for about five hours. That's Great Minnesota Get-Together work, baby! Love it. Everybody was happy, no one had to pay, and I had a good PA system and a captive audience.

When Kassie and I went to the fair later last evening, we got a few extra Sweet Martha's cookies from a lady who rode with me. Perks!

Today Andrew, an online acquaintance/regular commenter/former Cambuser, rode with me. He introduced himself. Good thing, too, because I don't think I would have recognized him any other way.

Well, I suppose I ought to get to bed. 4:50 comes early.

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state fair driver, the rest of the story (I think)

From the comments:

Anonymous said...

Ideally, how would you like the bus company to respond regarding the horses ass state fair bus driver? Had you your drothers, as a man and a husband, not an employee, how would you deal with, or what would you like to say to the actual horses ass?

I don't think I ever told the rest of the story about the driver who wouldn't let Kassie off the bus to go to the bathroom, did I? Sorry about that.

Here's what happened.

A few days after the incident, I looked that guy up on the computer at work and found out that he is a miscellaneous driver. That means that his job classification is not "bus operator," but that he is allowed to drive buses. I think miscellaneous operators are usually mechanics or other shop workers. I asked my garage coordinator (who is my boss when I work out of Nicollet as an instructor) about the guy in question and apparently he used to be a driver who now works at the Overhaul Base. Overhaul, as the name suggests, is where they do major work on buses.

I knew that was going to be trouble. I don't know what kind of disciplinary procedures can be taken on miscellaneous operators, but I assume it's not anything like the ones for bus drivers. That is, I really doubt that there is anything in the contract regarding customer complaints for mechanics.

Kassie filed a complaint right away. She did not hear from anyone for quite a while. I heard that I was looking like the bad guy in the situation, swearing at the driver, etc. That came from someone asking my coordinator about it.

After a little over a month, Kassie got tired of waiting to hear something and emailed Brian Lamb, General Manager of M*tro Tr*nsit. I have always had positive interaction with Mr. Lamb, and Kassie knows it. I'm sure she would have sent him an email anyway.

He responded very quickly, promising to have someone look into it.

I might be a bit fuzzy on details here, but this is the gist of it.

Soon after that, Kassie got a phone call from a manager. I know the manager and I was glad to hear she was taking care of it. She told Kassie that there was no set process to deal with complaints about miscellaneous drivers, especially those at Overhaul. Apparently, the complaint had been shuffled around because no one knew what to do with it.

The manager told Kassie that there was already some discussion about how and when miscellaneous operators can drive a bus in service. She assured Kassie that someone would speak to the state fair guy, at the very least about wearing ear plugs while driving the bus. Kassie said the manager was very professional and I was not surprised.

So 38 days later, Kassie was satisfied that her complaint had been heard and dealt with.

And to address the commenter's questions:

I feel like I already said what I wanted to when I was in that guy's ear the day of the incident. He was, uh, acutely aware of my displeasure, which was important. I also apologized to him for losing my temper, which was even more important.

As far as how I would like the company to respond, well, I can't really separate my personal opinion from my professional opinion because I think the answer is the same. I believe that anyone who is going to deal with the public in any job or profession needs customer service training. At M*tro Tr*nsit we have a decent customer service curriculum called Transit Ambassadors. I think attendance should be mandatory for anyone who is going to pick up passengers in a bus.

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yes, more fair

Kassie and I went to the Great Minnesota Get-Together today.

If you go, be sure to see the marvel of modern technology in the Grandstand called the "computer." It is truly amazing! I think there just might be a future in these gizmos.

We looked at a bunch of Charolais bulls. As you can tell by the name, they are clearly among the most cowardly cattle breeds in the world. (The others are Abondance, Tarentaise, Villard de Lans, Montbeliarde and Limousin, of course.) Kassie and I avoided the french (freedom) fries the rest of the day because that much Frenchitude just might have had us voting something other than Republican!

The other night when I took the picture of the Carmel Apples sign, I did not notis the Hand Sanatizing Station.

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he isn't a chicken.



more fair

I was assigned to work the state fair again today, giving breaks to shuttle drivers. Fortunately, when I woke up this morning, I had a stuffed-up nose but not much else in the way of unpleasant cold symptoms.

This is Jeremy. He is a friendly guy and he introduced himself to me on my first trip. As we wrapped up our brief conversation, which pretty much consisted of establishing where we were from, he said, "OK, you've got my number. Give me a call if you need anything."

Later in the day, I got to take a break. This pass gets us into the fair. So I went in and wandered around a bit. I found "Vegas Streets" by Basement Apartment on my iPod. It had been running through my head all morning. I was blissfully walking along when an older woman flagged me down. She then waved her husband over. I took off my headphones.

"Where is 1500 KSTP? Joe Soucheray."
I responded, "I don't know."
"Of course you don't!"


I guess the Transit Staff badge was the clue that I know where every booth inside the fair is, but since I'm not much of a fan of old Joe, I didn't want to tell them. I helped them find it anyway. Then I invited them to hop on board my invisible bus so I could drive them over there.

Shortly after that exchange, Senator Amy Klobuchar and I exchanged smiles.

Oh, it's true. I love the fair.

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state fair, again

I was assigned to the state fair for work today. I gave shuttle drivers a break by driving one trip in their buses for them. It was really fun. For a while, I got to pick drivers at random, so I randomly picked a driver who had one of the new articulated buses. It was awesome. It still smells new.

After work, Kassie showed up and I changed my clothes and we went into the fair. We saw Simon, Mollie, Trevor, Wyatt, T-Unit, Dan, Theresa (Teresa?), Ben and Deke Dickerson and the Ecco-Fonics. Some of those folks we meant to meet and others we meant to see. Deke Dickerson told a naughty joke at Gabe's in Iowa City when I was there that actually sent a young woman running for the door. Everyone else thought it was kind of funny...

We also saw Pretty Ricky, who weighs 1200 pounds.

He's very pretty from his back side.

He was oblivious to the feeding frenzy going on in the pen next door.

I also noticed that an Israeli mountain is apparently known for its apples...

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state fair pics

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before, but that's just too bad. This booth is for those who get to the state fair and, when faced with a hundred-gazillion interesting food options, panic and go straight for the soggy-bread-and-processed-meat Mobil station cuisine.

I know this...uh... isn't very nice, but this reminded me of Olestra.


state fair, so far

Kassie and I love the Great Minnesota Get-Together. We decided to take the bus there this afternoon. Bad idea...

We took the 18 downtown, then boarded the 960 at 11th Street on the Nicollet Mall. Supposedly, the 960 gets to the fair from downtown in 15 minutes. We weren't sure when it was going to pick us up downtown, as there is no posted schedule. But we knew it wouldn't be more than fifteen minutes. So when we were on the 18 on our way downtown and Kassie realized that she had to use the restroom, she wasn't too concerned.

A group of young people boarded with us. They announced to the driver that they weren't from here and that they wanted to check out our state fair. Fine.

Then they yelled to each other for the entire trip. And the conversation was incredibly banal. We heard numerous times that CC DeVille was one guy's favorite guitarist. (the '80s are back... yawn...) Their yelling included profanity, even when a young girl got on with her father. One or two of the young women in the loud group attempted to get the guys to quit swearing, and it sort of worked, but they still had no idea how to act in public.


Other than the noise, the bus ride was uneventful until we approached Como Avenue on the U of M's Transitway. There were about twenty buses in front of us and none of them were moving. So we sat on an overpass waiting to make the right turn onto Como. We found out later that the cows were going home. Farmers were loading up their livestock and leaving for the week, I guess. So it took us 25 minutes to get to Como. When we finally got there, we had to stop and wait at the light.

Kassie still needed to use the restroom, and it was getting bad.

When we got to Como Avenue and realized that we'd be sitting there for a while before turning, then sitting in the extremely slow-moving traffic, we asked the driver to let us out so she could get to a bathroom. We were next to a curb. It would have been a perfectly safe place to let us out.

The driver refused to open the door.

So we sat in traffic for what would eventually be another 20 minutes to go five or six blocks. Kassie had to pee so bad (and was so angry that he wouldn't let us out) that she started to cry. I asked again nicely if he would please let us out so that she could use a restroom, and when he refused again, I lost my temper.

I confess that it was not necessarily one of my finer moments. I mean, Kassie was sitting across from him, trying to keep from wetting herself and trying unsuccessfully not to cry and the jackass wouldn't let her out. I lit into him. And by that, I mean I scolded him. ha. He's got a lot more seniority than I do, but I told him he was being a dick and that I didn't appreciate his sh*tty-a** customer service. But I did call him sir, and at one point apologized for being a jerk.

He encouraged me to call the company and I assured him that I would, in fact, be speaking to a union rep because, as I had mentioned, I worked for the company. But he probably didn't hear that earlier because he had an earplug in his ear.

In fact, I'll most likely let Kassie call and make the complaint and we'll see what comes of it. Sadly, I don't think much will happen. Drivers like that give all of us a bad name. Fortunately, Kassie made it to a Satellite when we reached the terminal.

I guess I'll just continue to teach good customer service to my students and remind them that a black-and-white mentality is going to cause a lot more grief than it's worth.

Jeez, that guy was a dick!

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