Appropriate reactions to a mother getting on the bus with an inconsolably-crying infant include: turning up headphones, covering ears, and getting off the bus to wait for the next one.
Inappropriate responses include what this person just did.
And by "this person" I mean the bus driver.
TriMet is investigating allegations that a bus driver bounced a mother and her baby from a No. 57 bus in Hillsboro on Thursday night because the baby was crying too much, a move that one rider says prompted all of the passengers to get off.
Apparently the woman's baby was crying so incessantly that at one point the female driver asked the mother via intercom to give the baby "some keys or something," because she "can't drive with that noise."
The driver's advice was either unheeded or ineffective because the baby kept crying. Soon after that the driver stopped the bus, spoke with the mother (who apparently speaks very little English) and then both baby and mom exited the bus.
Outraged, one woman apparently told the driver "you can't just kick a woman off the bus because her baby's crying."
The woman says the driver responded with "If you don't like it, you can get off the bus."
That, as it turns out, is exactly what the passenger did.
And at the next stop every single other passenger left the bus as well.
Over at this local transit blog (with a name that's too damn long to post), a transcript of the bus driver's conversation with dispatch was posted.
Seattle Weekly spoke with Tri-Met Communications Director Mary Fetsch who confirmed the transcript as accurate. She said that the driver has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
Dispatch: Hey ***** what's up?
Driver: I have four or five of them calling me a bitch, I had a screaming child on my bus she has been screaming since I left Beaverton, I tried to calm her down and she called her husband and she got off so you know what, I am parked.
Dispatch: OK, so, you have your doors open?
Driver: what was that?
Dispatch: do you have your doors open?
Driver: ya I do
Dispatch: So the person with the kid that was crying, did they get kicked off the bus and that is why people were yelling at you or what?
Driver: Well we tried to calm her down and (unintelligible) and I came up and asked her if she had anything that she could play with to distract her and she didn't so I went into my (unintelligible) and the mom calmed her down and she got off back here on , what's it called, what's the name of the street back here, where you catch MAX , she got off there and then they started calling me F'ing bitch and all this stuff so I said you guys can get off too.
Dispatch: OK, do we know why, what they are upset about?
Driver: Ya they just thought I should just keep driving with this child screaming and I said I can't drive with a child screaming we need to calm her down, she has been screaming ever since Beaverton
Dispatch: OK, how small of a kid are we talking about?
Driver: she was only about 2, she was upset she had a stomach ache or something I couldn't get her at all to quiet down or anything, so mom just called her dad.
Dispatch: OK umm, alright, we are sending people to you errrr ahhhh, (pause)
Dispatch: so the problem people are off the bus?
Driver: sure are, there are a load of people from the corrections center which is where I am sitting
Dispatch: OK if they are off the bus go ahead and close the doors and continue. In the future if there is a baby crying on your bus there really isn't a whole lot you can do, its public transit, they, we can't really enforce kids being quiet on the bus.
Driver: it wasn't just crying, it was screaming all the way from Beaverton and I just finally stopped the bus and said we need to get the baby to stop screaming because I just can't drive with it screaming because (unintelligible) but that is not safe
Dispatch: What I am telling you is that's not something we can enforce, if somebody's kid is crying, you still have to drive the bus.
Driver: I drove the bus all the way from Beaverton to Hillsboro and it gets to where it's not safe to see, I'm a mother that kind of screaming bothers me.
Dispatch: OK we are not connecting here so I'll let you talk to your manager about this because this isn't something that we can enforce.
Driver: Do you know how often this happens? Very rare like once a year or once every two years.