So according to the newspapers here in England, bosses are warning bus-drivers to stop using words such as ‘love’, ‘sweetheart’, and ‘dear’ to passengers who un/board their buses, in order to prevent legal ramnifications.
Wait, what? Why?
On the instances I use the bus services here in England, I am always impressed by the services. And bemused when I compare the same to Malta. True, I have never tried the Arriva services since they were introduced in Malta last July, but I remember my student years, getting on the bus, mustering the courage to ask the bus-driver something, having the hairy giant behind the wheel look at me angrily and mutter something under his breath. At that point I would be trembling in my shoes, I did not care whether the driver had answered my question or not, I would just go and take a seat. And pray I would arrive at my destination safe and sound. Because the drive was always a roller-coaster ride. Speeding round corners, driving past waiting passengers, going through EVERY pothole the roads had to offer, breaking suddenly and listening to the tirade of swearing the driver sometime had to offer if a poor passenger dared to ask for change for his fare.
(Fellow University students travelling to/from Cirkewwa to Msida on the 45 Bus, all have a favourite bus-driver/trip tale to tell!)
Thinking about it, I did have an experience with an Arriva driver last December. Driving round a roundabout with C at the back, a young driver kept on driving past his stop sign, I braked suddenly, and in response to my beeping the horn, he turned round and gave me the finger. Yes, I took his number and details and yes I did report him. It’s a pity the ignorant few give the other hard-workers such a bad name.
Back to England though. I love getting on a bus and be greeted by a ‘Hello luv’. I love the bus-driver getting out of the bus and help me carry the push-chair onto the bus. I love it when he even apologizes for my waiting on the bus-stop. I love young children giving up the seats specially designated for mothers with push-chairs so you can sit down, and I love the “Have a nice day!” when you get off the bus.
Okay, not everyone is that well-mannered, but those who don’t are truly in the minority. And sure, sometimes too much of a good thing is suspicious and you doubt whether they truly mean it or not, but I believe in good manners. I was brought up to appreciate and reciprocate, and it rubs me the wrong way how many people don’t realize what a difference manners, good manners, make.
So no, I don’t think that it’s discriminating or harassing in any way whatsoever, if it’s said in a good way. It’s a pleasant way to start/end your trip and it should be taken with a pinch of salt, with a smile and a reciprocating ‘thank-you’!
“Good manners and soft words have brought many a difficult thing to pass”
– Sir John Vanbrugh.