Body-slamming into blind woman on the bus


Dan Nelson, Sports Editor

If I could start things over, I probably would have just walked home from campus that day.

If there’s one thing I learned from the whole experience it was to laugh at yourself, but let me start at the beginning.

I was getting ready to ride the bus home from East Campus one afternoon after my classes were finished. It was another beautiful Santa Barbara day. Santa Barbara always has beautiful days, but it was especially nice this day.

It wasn’t particularly hot, but if you’ve ever ridden a bus leaving City College between 3 and 5 p.m. you’ve seen the mob that tries to fit inside. It was a bit muggy in there to say the least.

Of course, I was one of the last sardines to pile into the can. I had been reduced to standing room only. The heat-induced stench of the bus was palpable.

As soon as I got on, the bus took off down the bend of Cliff Drive. This is where things took a dramatic turn. I lost my balance.

There was no room to really get your feet set. It was like tipping over a statue. With my best attempt to be casual, I reached out to grab one of the vertical handrails as nonchalantly as possible.

But still, I continued to tip over. My backpack felt like it weighed 100 pounds. I don’t know if I’d been able to live it down if I had fallen flat on my back.

In a last ditch effort, I grabbed on to the grocery-bag net and my momentum took me into the row of seats beside me. People sidestepped me like bullfighters, which caused even more problems. I could see a woman in my peripheral that looked cool as a cucumber as I came barreling toward her.

Before I knew it, I was in the lap of a young lady who now looked absolutely terrified. I realized why shortly after.

It wasn’t a handrail I had grabbed a hold of to stop my fall, oh no. It was the same young lady’s walking stick.

Yep, I had mistakenly grabbed onto a blind woman’s cane instead of a handrail that would have avoided this traumatizing embarrassment.

The sounds of laughter filled the bus.

If I thought I was traumatized, I couldn’t imagine how this poor woman, who’d been completely unaware of what happened, had felt. People were leaning over to each other and whispering. Others just pointed and laughed. The bus driver had no clue what had happened.

I quickly apologized and explained to her what had happened as briefly and awkwardly as possible.

She smiled and nodded to me in forgiveness as I picked myself up from out of her lap.

I couldn’t bear to face the amount of people behind me so I just stood up straight kept looking forward. I’ve never held onto a handrail so tightly in my life.

I knew once any of them had gotten home they would stop the first person they recognized and say, “You’ll never guess what happened on the bus today…” There might still be a few of you out there reading this.

I rode all the way back to the bus station, got off as quickly as possible, and ducked into the bus that would take me home. My tail was between my legs.

While reliving the social horror over-and-over in my head, I had an epiphany. I thought, “don’t forget this day no matter how embarrassing. It might make good story.” It turned out to be sound advice because it got you to read this column.