Today is Bus Driver Appreciation Day!


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Yes it is! The title says it all. Have you thanked your driver lately? Officially speaking, today’s the day to do so, although you’re welcome to do so any day you choose!

Driving the bus is a rewarding task, but an extremely demanding one. I’m amused when passengers ask if “it ever gets boring-” it’s rather more the exact opposite. Repeated exposure to certain behaviors makes being at your patient best more difficult- but still possible. Each day is a test. The County Council’s financial decision to tighten schedules exacerbates all the problems one encounters on the road; here’s hoping that April 22 funding tax comes through, without which everyone in the county, even those who never use buses, will be put at a severe disadvantage. But enough of that for now.

There’s no doubt bus driving has made me a better person. I’ve learned levels of empathy, patience and kindness I’ve never approached at any other job, let alone known were possible. I consider the needs of others and see the equal plane we all exist on so much more clearly. I’m thankful for the intense joy it brings me, the opportunity to be here, amongst the crowds, where I feel whole. There is an immediacy and a fulfillment of being that I encounter out here. It is specific and soul-satisfying; I’ve not felt it anywhere else.

Much of that joy comes from you, the passengers and other operators. I have you to thank for building such a beautiful house together, on every bus I drive, over and over, day after growing day. Thank you to all the operators who guide me by their example, and who teach me valuable things without even trying, simply by being themselves. You know who you are.

Maybe I’ll see you later on today.

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Nathan Vass is an artist, filmmaker, photographer, and author by day, and a Metro bus driver by night, where his community-building work has been showcased on TED, NPR, The Seattle Times, KING 5 and landed him a spot on Seattle Magazine’s 2018 list of the 35 Most Influential People in Seattle. He has shown in over forty photography shows is also the director of nine films, six of which have shown at festivals, and one of which premiered at Henry Art Gallery. His book, The Lines That Make Us, is a Seattle bestseller and 2019 WA State Book Awards finalist.


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