Wednesday, 9 November 2011

TMZ Ottawa-style

There are many things I love about Ottawa.

It's a beautiful, family-friendly city. It's clean and it's culturally vibrant.

That said, I'm getting pretty sick of some of the behavior of late.

People should stop trying to villify the city's bus drivers.

That's right, I said it.

Put your cell phones away, people!

Bus drivers, like other drivers, are not perfect but in 80 percent of the time, they get you to your destination, they are helpful to riders who are having difficulties and they are friendly.

Like the singing bus driver, who was told to stop singing because of bunch of snooty and entitled passengers didn't like his tune. They complained BY EMAIL to OC Transpo so the brass hauled the guy in and told him to stop being so cheerful.

Now to the matter of the bus driver who yelled at the kid with autism. Nobody saw the entire encounter so that YouTube video was probably taken out of context. The kid admitted that he had been reciting a poem or essay and it contained foul language. The bus driver told him to stop so he came up and started apologizing.

The bus driver lost it.

He shouldn't have lost it. He shouldn't have used that language. But anyone who knows someone with a mental illness like autism or Tourette's knows that sometimes it's difficult to talk to them. If the bus driver didn't give the guy his undivided attention, the guy would have pressed him to make sure the apology was accepted.

The bus driver didn't know the kid had autism. He just knew the kid was in his face in a big way. So he might be excused -- while he was trying to get his passengers to their destinations safely -- for telling the kid to pipe down and get off the bus.

We don't know.

We didn't see what the kid did before the video camera was turned on. So before we judge the guy, let him tell his side.

I'm not, in anyway, saying the kid was at fault. It's the media's fault for exploiting this kid. The story is all over the news. Bus drivers are mean to people with mental illness. The bus driver should have known better.

The kid has become a media star. He clearly does not want to be. He probably doesn't understand what's going on.

I blame the media for putting him in the spotlight in the first place.

And I blame that passenger who took the video, passively, while this situation blew up. Why didn't he put the phone down and intervene? Why didn't he call 9-1-1?

Instead, he embarrassed everybody and could have cost the bus driver his job.

I'm getting sick of the cowards who take these pictures, then anonymously post them on the Internet.

Ditto for the guy who took the photo of the bus driver who was talking on the cell phone. Why didn't he call the cops? Why didn't he honk at the bus from his entitled SUV and tell him to put the phone down?

There are other ways of dealing with bad bus drivers other than putting their pictures up on YouTube.

There will be consequences. Bus drivers will be afraid of doing anything but driving the bus. They won't do anything that isn't by the book. They won't help someone in need; they'll simply call their supervisors.

I don't understand it.

Just because we live in the TMZ generation, it doesn't mean we all get to be paparazzi.

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