It seems like everyone is talking about the video that's surfaced recently of an OC Transpo operator absolutely ripping in to a rider on his bus, not just laying down some ridiculous personal insults but unleashing some pretty ugly profanity (all within earshot of young kids, no less). Some have come to the defence of the operator in question, including transit commission chair Diane Deans and acting ATU 279 president Mike Aldrich, stating that without knowing the full context of the event, there can't be conclusions drawn. I take issue with that, because no matter the context, the operator acted unprofessionally and disrespectfully. The rider, it would seem, did the same, but the rider isn't an employee of OC Transpo, so he isn't expected to uphold the service standards. Anyone who's worked in the service industry knows that customers can be disrespectful; that doesn't give you license to go off the handle on them.
But what I really take issue with is the reputation this (very isolated) incident gives OC Transpo operators. It's a sad reality, but negative press like this gets a lot more pick-up than positive press; already, this relatively minor story has received more mileage than the recent one of Peter Paquette, the OC Transpo driver who heroically stopped his bus to run into a burning house and help evacuate three people who were inside. In fact, in my experience, the friendly (or at least neutral) bus operators outnumber the surly (or downright disrespectful) ones by a decent margin.
The problem with this driver's actions, though, is not just that it's disrespectful to that individual rider, but it also gives the impression that disrespectful drivers are the norm, rather than the exception.