The Musician on the Bus Goes Strum, Strum, Strum

Fun item in today’s NY Times Metropolitan Diary that shows NY bus drivers aren’t always gruff and soulless.


A visitor in the city with a guitar and suitcase, I boarded the M60 bus at 125th Street. “How much to the last stop?” I asked. The driver didn’t answer. I asked again. He finally said, “Two-twenty-five.”

I reached for two dollars from my wallet and he said, “No paper, only coins.”

Anoxia. Embarrassment. “I don’t have that much change; should I get off?”

He drove away as panic set in. After what seemed an eternity, he motioned with his eyes and said, “Just go on back.”

As I exited, I wanted to thank the driver, but before I could speak, he said: “I got a deal for you. Play me $2.25 worth of guitar and we’ll call it even.”

I played a verse from a song I wrote called “I’m Not Strange, I’m Just Like You.” He smiled a big grin. I improvised a second verse about a bus driver in New York City who let me ride, this once, free. He loved it! He told me I made his day; I told him he made mine. Real New York is better than fiction.

Keith Sykes

This entry was posted in Bus, Bus Driver, Metropolitan Diary. Bookmark the permalink.

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