I was on the bus to work a few months back when an argument erupted between the (female) bus driver and a (female) passenger due to the driver asking the passenger to move her mini-suitcase which was blocking the aisle. The passenger refused and started shouting abuse at the driver, using disgusting language. It got to the point where the driver stopped the bus and asked her to get off but she refused and continued to give a torrent of abuse so the driver called the police. We were waiting for the police to arrive and several passengers started talking to the passenger, asking her to apologise to the driver and saying that they were “just as bad as each other”. Eventually another bus pulled up behind us and as we got onto it the (male) bus driver said “oh she should have just ignored her and got on with her job”.
Now I was annoyed as everybody else about the interruption to my journey but I completely supported the actions that the driver took. At the end of the day the driver shouldn’t have to put up with that level of abuse from a passenger while she is simply doing her job. Her colleague should have supported her, not told her to “get on with it”, likewise the other passengers should have been more sympathetic instead of getting annoyed that their journey was delayed.
It shocks me how this abuse of a woman simply doing her job was normalised, the other passengers and the male bus driver seemed to think that she should just put up with the abuse and get on with it. I have worked in customer service before, and I would not have put up with that level of abuse. I’m now a criminal prosecutor and know that she had every right to call the police.
It makes me wonder what would have happened had the passenger and driver been of different genders? If the abusive passenger had been a man would the same approach have been taken? Similarly if the driver had been a man I reckon the second driver would probably have backed him up, not said he should just “get on with it”.