Saturday, August 22, 2009

Service with a shrug of indifference

Ride the bus often enough on a more or less regular basis and you begin to recognize faces. See them often enough and you start to talk to them.

At least I do.

I call them Bus Buddies. I have three or four and it's become a pleasure to see them. They smile when they see me climb aboard, too, but one of my buddies wasn't smiling Thursday.

I'll call him Diego. He's a lovely man with a courtly manner, living in the United States on a visa. I see him on the bus on Thursdays because he is returning home, at the time I board the bus, from one of his twice-weekly workouts. He usually is quick with a smile, but a bad thing happened to him Thursday.

"What's the problem?" I asked, when I saw his sour face.

"Someone broke into my locker and took my wallet," he said. "I'm not that concerned about the money but it had all my identification. My driver's license, my green card. Everything. And they took my cell phone, too. It had all my contacts on it."

"Did you report it?" I asked.

"I talked to the guy at the fitness center," he said. "He said there was nothing he could do, said it happened all the time."

'Did you call the cops?"

"I will when I get home. The guy wouldn't even let me use the phone to call the police."

I won't even ask why someone would steal his things because that sort of thing has been going on since there have been people. We all covet things and some of us can't be bothered to acquire those things honestly.

And I won't tell you the name of the fitness center. It's part of a chain and I'm certain they have more money to pay attorneys' fees than I do.

But the fact that this sort of thing happens "all the time" at this business and nothing has been done to curtail it makes me angry and the thought that this sort of response may be becoming an accepted way to do business fills me with despair.

And I wonder what sort of world are we leaving to our children.