Ali Holt was facing more time in London after her father’s accident, and dreaded the daily bus trips to and from the hospital. She decided to make the most of it and the results were beyond her expectations ……
In Wellington it is very common to thank the bus driver when you get off the bus. Often you hear the shout of a loud “Thank you driver” from the back of the bus as young people disembark. It has become the natural thing to do. This is not the case overseas, especially in London. Ali tells her story.
In July, I left Wellington for a two-week business trip to London. Everything was going well, but just before I was due to fly back disaster struck.
My father fell, broke his hip and was admitted to hospital in Margate, Kent. I postponed my flight home so I could spend two weeks helping him recover from surgery and get back on his feet.
I headed down to Margate, but it was the time of the Margate Festival. Accommodation was scarce and expensive and I couldn’t get a car to hire. I was stuck with taking buses backwards and forwards to the hospital every day.
Visiting hours were crazily inconvenient for somebody wanting to visit twice a day and it seemed as though I was forever on the bus. Boy, was I grumpy!
On one trip I was gloomy and wallowing in prime grumpiness when an idea occurred to me.
Maybe I could stop sulking and make the most of the situation.
It occurred to me to start doing the New Zealand thing and thank the driver every time I got off the bus. In my experience growing up in the United Kingdom, and visiting frequently over the last few years, people on UK buses rarely speak to each other and would seldom speak to the driver.
The first time took the driver completely by surprise and he spluttered a very grateful “Thank you” in response.
Then, one by one the people following behind me to get off the bus also thanked the driver.
So, by the end of my time in Margate I found I was behind people who also thanked the driver as they got off the bus….