The Bus Driver is a book for children that told the story of Don, the happy-go-lucky bus driver, on an average trip in 1937 from New York to Washington D.C. The actual text painted a pretty sweet picture of the hospitable Don and the joy he brought to his passengers. The illustrations were by Earle Winslow. This is a retelling of the story.
Don, our driver today, poses in front of Becky the Bus, get ready for the ride of a lifetime.
Don’s passengers were more trusting than they are today. Routinely, they left their belongings unattended in the bus terminal waiting room. Today we see something and say something.
Buses were clean, modern and streamlined to be aerodynamic. However, passengers had no entertainment devices other than their own imaginations on board.
The clean, sanitary and safe terminals were enviable. The Washington bus was special because its destination was the center of the world.
Passengers didn’t mind getting on line since it gave them a chance to meet the others and share bus lore.
Buses were quite efficient. Comfy seats, roomy baggage area and wide aisles for the occasional dance.
Don always selected a lucky passenger to sit up front with whom he could have long conversations. Don, who was such a good driver he didn’t even have to look at the road.
The bus route was planned so that passengers could see America’s industrial might, with smokestacks spewing honest American smoke into the fresh American air.
Don zipped through tunnels at high speeds. Apparently, he owed gambling debts to the toll officers.
Don was known to play the ponies on his days off. And with his growing debts, he pushed the horsepower through New Jersey’s horse country.
Passing like two ships in the night, the driver of the returning bus was not as swift as Don.
Halfway to Washington, Don announced a rest stop. His voice bellowed through the bus like a fog horn on a tramp steamer.
Before restrooms were a fixture on lengthy bus rides, Don and his colleagues made numerous rest stops. Getting the passengers back on was like herding cats.
On this trip, Don takes on a co-driver. It seems, the bus company found out that Don’s bus license had been revoked for another in a list of infractions.
The rested and relieved passengers decide what this trip needs is a little sing-song.
Ralph, a traveling salesman and self-described toast-master-general, leads the enthusiastic passengers in “100 Bottles of Beer. . . ” Don, becomes agitated.
Fortunately, the sight of America’s historical capital building calms the passengers, and relieves Don of his negative urges.
Before departing, Don asks the passenger sitting near him if she’d like a massage. “All part of our fast, clean, helpful service,” he says. “Just leave the driving to me.”