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                                                        Bus Drivers…
Greetings dear friends & welcome to my world again this week. My topic today has been inspired by my experiences in Auckland last weekend. In particular, Auckland Transport Bus Drivers. When we go to Auckland, I like taking the bus; typically they are regular, convenient & take you to most city destinations in a timely manner. Whilst many people suggest Uber is way to go, I am a bus fan.
We arrived at our accommodation, & set off on our separate ways. I jumped on the first bus within 5 minutes with my new gold card & cash for what I expected to be the $3 ride or thereabouts from last time I was there, circa two years previously. Nope, regretfully no such thing available on Auckland buses now. One requires a Hop card ~ whatever they were. Another casualty of Covid I was advised.
“Well, what do I do now” I asked? Where does one get such a card & there was no such problem last time I came to Auckland. “Where you from driver asks?” “Nelson,” I responded, “take a seat he says, with a smile you can sort one out later for your next bus… Exemplary service example #1
On the return back to the B&B, another absolute gentleman offered to give me the nod when I could get off in Mt Eden. Regretfully another young man gets on with no funds on his Hop card, suggests he has upgraded, however, no funds, no ride was politely suggested. He refused to accept this & proceeded to take a seat. Few comments from other passengers followed, & driver turns off bus advising he was going nowhere until he departed… Stalemate.  Many passengers unloaded & like me caught the next bus, even though many I suspect probably had to pay again.
Next driver was again pleasant & helpful. I thought all was well on my way to Mt Eden. Regretfully, I was actually going to Dominion Road, close, however, no stops there. After a while I did not recognize where I was supposed to be, enquired & essentially advised; certainly it appeared I was lost… He would be going back there however I needed to do the round trip. Splendid, sightseeing thru suburbs I had never heard of like: Three Kings, Hillsborough, Lynfield, views over Manukau Harbour with tide out, Waikowhai golf club, Mt Roskill, Pt Chevalier, & just down road to Western Springs.
Dropped off @ Mt Eden village by another absolute gentleman, & after wondering around lost again needed to catch a Dominion Road bus, which ironically goes in the different direction than I was walking… This could have been a disastrous afternoon for many people, however I had this free tour around some of the city for an hour, all for the price of an $11 Hop card ~ which last six years…
I was particularly grateful to all the drivers & suggested to the last one, I thought such concern for the travelling customer was exemplary. This man then responded, it may be common sense to some of us, regretfully it was certainly not common practice. He was taught to keep his eyes open & then do what made sense to him. So, this is exactly what he does, looks around at situation to see if anything requires attention, he does what he thought was the best thing to do in the situation. Wow! From a bus driver…
In the middle of this election year, the amount of vicious attack & trash talking has reached a new high (or low). No matter what your political persuasion, I think you would agree the political environment has become increasingly toxic. Absolute unachievable promises a typical example from all sides.
We now live in a culture where verbal attack seems the order of the day. We have lost our sense of civility… & no person, no position is off limits. The media ruthlessly exploits people all in the name of “selling a story”.
The advent of technology has also made it easier for people to be vicious toward one another. Because now you can hide behind a screen. People will say things in an e-mail they would never dream of saying in person.
So, when you hold up the content of this article against the backdrop of culture, it is radically counter-cultural, & too often it is even counter to our culture & values for many.
I think it is time we all take the lead in helping our communities know how to treat one another. In a culture of honor, we are to be more personal than transactional. In other words, I value people as unique individuals & who matter. People have a very fine tuned antenna… they can tell whether or not we have genuine interest in them (personal) or whether we simple want something from them (transactional).
This is just the opposite of our normal competitive spirit. Our human nature competes to show we are the best. When we compete, it is usually about us. I feel if you want to compete, be competitive in showing honor to others.
When we treat people with dignity we make the environment & our culture more attractive. When we truly love people & use words of honour we make life attractive. In the midst of a political environment where verbal assassination is the order of the day, we have the incredible privilege of doing just the opposite by honouring one another. Just like an Auckland City Transport bus driver would do.
I hope my comments each week are helpful dear readers; & again, provide just an opinion, from my world. Thank you for taking the time to be with me, I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson, with my best wishes.

Kenn Butler
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