Friday, August 30, 2013

I Ride the Shuttle, and I Say Thanks

Fall semester at WSU started this past Monday.  The first few days were a bit rocky, but I survived my first week back!  Woo Hoot!

One of the things I quickly learned (thanks to a kind man at the Parking Office), is that if you don't get to campus before about 8:45am, there is barely ANY parking until about 2pm.  I was told - in near hushed tones - that instead of wasting my money ($71) on an annual pass I'll rarely be able to use, I should buy the pass to park at the event center (a mile away) because it's cheaper ($28) and there is a FREE shuttle service between that lot and the center of campus and it runs - get this - EVERY.FIVE.MINUTES.  

One thing I HATED about SLCC was parking.  I'd try to get to campus about an hour early, and even then a spot could be hard to come by; my quest often resembling a scene from a scary movie.  Me, on a stakeout, keeping my eyes peeled for that one student emerging from class.  I would follow him or her slowly in my car, hoping to get the spot they'd be vacating.  A few panicked looks over the shoulder and it never failed; they'd soon quicken their stride, eventually sprinting across the parking lot in an attempt to escape the "crazy lady in the Altima".  And, just like that, the trail would go cold.  

I cannot tell you the number of times I was tempted to roll my window down and offer someone a ride to their car, just so I could take their spot.  But, how exactly does one begin such a request.  "Excuse me, I know you don't know me, but are you going to your car right now?  Can I give you a ride?  ..... I've got candy."   "Hello?  Campus Security?"

Needless to say, a free shuttle sounded great!  All in all, from the time I park my car and take the shuttle to the drop point, it's about 10 minutes, which is way better than arriving an hour early and becoming the poster child for Campus Creepers.  

I am grateful for the shuttle, truly, and each day as I make my way toward the front of the bus to get off, I ALWAYS say "thank you" to the driver.  Sometimes a few other students in front of me will say thanks, but not always. 

When I am near the last to exit, I notice a trend, which supports evidence that we (humans) have a Psychosocial need to fit in.  If someone near the front of the bus says, "Thanks/Thank you" to the driver, then most others follow suit.  However, if those in the front of the bus remain silent, it often proves to be a very quiet exodus.  Perhaps one or two say "thanks", but because it's not the "norm", others are less likely to join in.  

Another thing I noticed, from the looks of it, is that those who offer up their words of gratitude freely, are mostly over the age of 25.  I thought about this in relation to Erikson's theory of  Psychosocial Conflict (Identity vs. Confusion, Stage 5).  When we are in our adolescent years, we might begin to "feel confused or insecure about ourselves and how we fit into society."  I wondered three things.  One -  were these students not taught these skills (manners & the confidence to use them) during that critical period?  Two - if this is now the norm, what does our future society look like?  and Three - is this something they will become more comfortable with and more free to express as they grow and mature?

I am sure glad I spent a lot of time and energy teaching my kids manners! 

I don't say "thanks" just to be nice.  I AM grateful for the shuttle.  I am grateful for the time and money it saves me, I am grateful to not have to walk in bad weather, and I am grateful to the driver for getting me to my destination safely!

My name is Emma. I ride the shuttle, and I say Thanks.

1 comment:

Puphigirl said...

I say thanks to restaurant waitstaff when they refill my water. Someone once commented that they don't say thanks because that's the job, it's not like they're doing you a favor. I say thanks because I'm grateful they are doing their job.