The first time I heard someone say “Thank you” just before getting off the bus, I thought they were talking to someone close to the exit. The second time I heard it, I noticed there was actually no one near the exit to talk to, as the bus was half empty. The third time It was my friend who shouted it while getting off and he was definitively not saying it to me so I asked “Ok, what’s going on here?”.
What’s going on is that it’s a common habit in Australia to simply shout a thank you to the driver before leaving the bus. A quick search on the net revealed that apparently it is something that happens in other places in the world, like Ireland or Canada, just to name two.
For me, it was a complete surprise. Never once had I heard someone in London thanking the driver just because he has done his job and took you where you wanted, although I have heard people cursing at the driver many times. Shouting to “open the door” or “stop”. If there was a thank you, normally it was in response to some information given. I have never heard it being said just for the sake of saying it. The same situation in Italy. Bus drivers don’t get a “grazie”.
I have to admit I like this idea. I am aware that probably most people say it out of habit without even really meaning it and all that, but I just appreciate seeing random acts of kindness. I have also seen on different occasions the bus drivers taking the time to explain directions to lost people with a smile and once I have even seen the driver getting off his bus to show a woman the direction on the timetable…and no one in the bus batted an eyelid!
At first, It surely felt a bit awkward thanking the driver loudly, and I must have only mumbled it while rushing out, embarrassed for unknown reasons. But now it seems the most normal thing to do and I am glad I am doing my part in spreading politeness. 🙂
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