The good deed.
In the bus, I noticed them right away. They looked so much like tourists. The hat on his head, the camera bag on his laps, the lapel-pin on her T-shirt. The way they sat across three seats. Their faces as they were looking at the streets. I hear the bus driver explaining exactly where they should get out. What they should do tomorrow to avoid traffic and delays. Which bus, what subway. They are nodding their heads, the woman repeating from time to time the instructions to make sure she'll remember. At the following stop when someone comes to sit in the place they left empty between them, their look reveals both the shock of this rude intrusion and their understanding that this is clearly part of the strange ways of city dwellers. The bus driver is now looking with them at house numbers to make sure that they'll get out at the right stop. We all look to the inn across the street. They thank her profusely, wish her a good week-end and exit.
As soon as she closes the door of the bus, the driver says loudly to no one in particular "So how was that for being nice to visitors?"
I'd never seen such spontaneous hilarity. Everybody laugh and one woman behind me answers "It's not fair! You should be nicer to us, the locals!" the driver is still enjoying her good deed. "I'm always nice but I'm making an extra effort for the tourists so they'll be happy and come back". Somehow, her remark triggers another burst of laughter in the bus.
At the following stops, people say goodbye to the driver as if she was a longtime friend. "Have a nice week-end!" "Enjoy the burgers!" Then one stop before mine, the doors open in front of a man standing with a cigarette. The driver mentions that smoking is not allowed and as he takes one last drag, she asks him to not breath out in her bus. He ignores her request and suddenly the doors are shut in front of him. When the doors open again to let a woman board, we hear him menacing to call a bus manager for what she has done. There is another bus behind us and he boards it.
The tourists are long forgotten. We're back to normal.