AS the city bus rumbled through northwest Queens one recent cloudy morning, Mary Apelian, who lives in East Elmhurst, offered the lowdown on her fellow passengers. She pointed out the young man whose wife just had twins (“He says he doesn’t get much sleep”)* and the woman whose grandchild was gravely ill in the hospital a while ago (“We were all so concerned we sent him a gift certificate”). And where’s Mitch? Wasn’t she supposed to be riding today?
Welcome aboard the QM22, where everybody knows your name. Passengers are apt to announce “It’s so nice to see everybody!” as they board and to be greeted by choruses of “How-are-yous,” near-cheers, hugs and kisses. They call themselves the “Bus People” …
“We’re all like family,” said Ms. Apelian, who has been riding the QM22 for more than two decades. “Everyone has a different story, and we share it all.”
I’m sorry that this story has a sad ending (the route is a casualty of NYC’s massive transit cuts and will be discontinued in June), but I still find it inspiring. This, ladies and gentlemen (well, and this, this, this, this, and this), is the reason I ride the bus. When’s the last time you got a birthday card from someone sitting next to you in traffic?
*Can I ever relate! I miss my bus naps.