A Winter Montreal Story (1969)

It was 47 years ago. Almost made me lose my faith in humankind. (Mind you, I’m sensitive, so it doesn’t take much!)

My daughter was just over a year old. It was a very cold January day. Okay, it might have been December. But the rest is all true, every word, I swear.

This was before I was a driver. And even if I had been one, we had only one car, and my then-husband took it to work. So I was adrift with my baby daughter. On that day, for some reason, I had to go somewhere with her; I don’t remember where, it doesn’t matter; maybe a dentist or doctor appointment. I guess taxis back then were out of the question due to budget constraints. So we walked two short blocks to the bus stop.

It was cold. Did I say that? Very cold. She had on her yellow snow suit with attached booties – she didn’t walk well yet. And of course a woolen hat and scarf wrapped around her face and head. Me? I was similarly wrapped – like a mummy. Heh.

Anyway, we approached the bus. It was just sitting there, which was not unusual, as this was the end of its route before it turned around, so drivers often took a little break at that spot. As I was about to mount the first step, baby in my arms, I looked up at the bus driver – and, with disbelief, saw him wagging his finger at me in a “no” gesture, and the next thing I know is, the door closes in my face.

What?! Was this a bad dream? Already my arms were getting tired from holding my baby and the wind was whipping the exposed parts of her face and mine. I knocked on the door – not very effective with mittens on, but I’m sure he got the message. Did he open the door? Nope.

This canNOT be happening. What the-?! I look up and down the block hoping for witnesses, so I could at least commiserate and say, if only with my facial expression, “Do you beLIEVE this guy?!?”

It was deserted. My baby and I, out in the cold, ignored by an inhuman, inhumane driver, enjoying the warmth of his little break. I paced. I hugged my daughter and sang to her, swore to myself, and paced some more. And we stayed out there on the sidewalk, on a frigid winter day, for 10 long minutes.

Finally the door opened. I ascended the steps with my baby. I was so frozen I could hardly speak. But I managed to spit some words out, the only thing I could think of to say: “Would you like it if someone did that to your WIFE?!?”

He said nothing and did not meet my angry glare.

I hope hell froze over just for you, you low-life.

14 thoughts on “A Winter Montreal Story (1969)

    1. Heh, actually he was an ‘old-stock’ French-Canadian Quebecer. How do I know? He had his transistor radio tuned to a French station. Almost all bus drivers were French-speaking then (and most still are today). By itself it means nothing- until you realize that many of them hate ‘les Anglais.’ Long story.


  1. We have the rudest bus drivers in the world and it’s all because of language. I witnessed a few horror stories myself.One winter in Westmount when it was still mostly English a very old lady struggled to get on the first step and asked him if this was bus 138.
    He stared straight ahead not answering her.Some of us in the front told her it was….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay, time for one good bus story. An elderly lady was getting on the bus, apologizing profusely to the driver for her slow pace. “Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ve got eight more years until retirement.” The whole bus applauded.

    Liked by 1 person

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