Thanks to all of you who shared your favorite Metro Memory with us to mark our 30th Anniversary year. Here is a selection of those memories…
"My Grandfather (Henry J. Soderlund) was senior scheduler for Metro for many years, and helped make it what it is today. I remember him taking me out on a bus ride, when I would visit town. Seeing him showing his employee rider pass and telling the driver that this was his grandson was a big deal to me. What pride I had riding with Grandpa around town on the big bus! Even though he is now gone, when I ride the bus I can still feel some of the pride that I had riding with Grandpa."
– Jon, Seattle
"I spend an average of three hours a day on the bus and count on my bus time as relaxing time, so when last fall, some sleazy-looking guy kept trying to talk to me, I really wasn't in the mood. But he seemed friendly and I hate being rude to nice people, so I responded minimally. He ended up telling me all about his court date. He claimed his ex-wife thought he should have no visitation rights for his 5-year-old son because he was a drunkard, but he desperately missed his son. The man told me his side of the story, insisting he had not had a sip of alcohol since the day his son was born, and I really did believe him. It was a cruel situation for all involved parties. When I left, I asked the man his name and told him mine – I felt very connected to him after he had opened his life to me, an unfriendly stranger on the bus. Quite some time later, deep into winter, I got on the bus after a long day of work. Shortly after the bus pulled away from my stop, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I recognized the man. He had a small boy with him. He said to me, ‘This is my stop, but I wanted to say thanks. You probably don’t remember me, but I told you all about my court date one day last fall. You listened to me, you believed me. That gave me the confidence to stand up for myself in court. I would like you to meet someone: this is my son.’ I was so honored, I grew teary. I had made a difference in someone’s life. When he left the bus that day, he gave me the best smile I’ve ever seen. I will never forget him, or his message of hope."
– Lauren, Seattle
"On a Saturday morning in the mid 1950s, my grandmother and I would get on a 100-type Seattle bus and go to the Woodland Park Zoo. After the fun of feeding the animals peanuts, we would indulge in one of the zoo hot dogs with plenty of relish and mustard. One of my grandmother’s favorite animals to see was Bobo, the large gorilla. After a long day at the zoo, we would get back on a Seattle bus and return home. My grandmother passed away many years ago, and I now love to take my grandchildren to the zoo, and we also have hot dogs and enjoy our time together."
– Pete, Federal Way
"In 1950, I was ten years old and not very clear on the "facts of life." One afternoon I took the number 7/15 Seattle Transit from Wedgewood to a dental appointment downtown. Most of the ride was pretty uneventful, until we turned on to Third Avenue. In those days there were still a number of movie theaters on that street. As the bus stopped for a traffic light, I saw a crowd carrying picket signs, milling around a theater. Most of the words were unfamiliar to me, but I caught the term "adulteress." I couldn't hear anything from my seat on the bus, but that night I asked my parents to explain. They said people wanted the movie ‘Stomboli’ shut down because its star, Ingrid Bergman, had a baby by her director, Roberto Rossellini. At the time, she was still married to a Swedish physician. Needless to say, the situation didn't please our local, heavily Scandinavian population during Seattle's post-war ‘happy days.’ The bus is still as good a place as any to learn about human nature!"
– Charles, Seattle
"A mother and child were sitting close to the driver. The child started to cry and was inconsolable. Finally, over the sobbing of the child I heard a deep voice say ‘Do you know the Itsy Bitsy Spider song?’ It was the driver and he had the child's immediate attention. To my delight and that of the other passengers, the driver and child sang the entire song with the little girl doing all of the appropriate hand motions. The mother and child continued to ride for many blocks after the song ended with a busload of contented passengers."
– Nancy, Seattle
"September of 2000 is the first time I can remember riding Metro, and I was by myself. I had my Bible in one hand and my schedule in the other. A friendly face offered his assistance and put my fears to rest. I saw him almost every morning at the park-and-ride, and three months later we happen to ride the exact same bus at the exact same time. On that bus we exchanged phone numbers, one month later we had our first date and four months later he proposed. Ten months from our first meeting at the park-and-ride, we got married. We never met before, so we thank you Metro for being our matchmaker!"
– Ashley, Federal Way
"I was on a #54 heading south on First Avenue. Got on at Union. Sat down on the front seats next to a nice little old lady (LOL). The LOL starts talking to me about her day, what she's done, the weather. This very large woman sat down next to her. LOL yells out ‘Well, someone needs to go on a diet!’ Then turns to me and continues our conversation about her cats, etc. In between, she kept interjecting comments to the overweight woman. Needless to say, I was mortified and exited at the next stop! I didn't want the other woman to think I was in cahoots with the LOL."
– Karen, White Center
"A few months ago, my young daughter and I were riding a 174, and before we got off at our stop a lady said ‘check your purse’ then she got off. Shortly after she left, I checked and someone had stuck a $20 bill in my purse. I had no money in there prior, just enough for bus fare. I would like the chance to thank her."
– Allie, SeaTac
"Last August, I was taking summer school at the UW. Everyday I took the 31 bus to and from my mother's house in Magnolia. One day I had to stay after class and talk to my teacher, and so I got to the bus stop across from Lander Hall late. I was sitting in the shelter when I looked up and saw a boy looking at me. For some reason he made me smile, and as we waited for our buses, we exchanged many glances. Unfortunately, his bus came, a 71, and as he got on the bus he turned around and smiled at me one last time. ‘Too bad we didn’t get to talk,’ I thought. But before the bus left, I saw him get off the bus. He walked towards me and said, ‘I can catch the next bus. They come every 15 minutes.’ We introduced ourselves and had hardly spoken our names when my bus came. I helplessly apologized and left him to stand in line for the bus. Before I could board though, he gave me a card with his name and number and told me to call him. A week later, I did, and I am ever so happy because I believe he is my soulmate. What's bizarre is that I met my last boyfriend at that same bus stop. I guess if I ever want to find someone new, I don’t have to go to a bar – I’ll just go to that bus stop."
– Joanna, Seattle
"As a teenage boy, I remember being downtown on a Saturday in the summer of 1975 and seeing a beautiful young Asian woman. She had long dark black hair and was wearing sunglasses and platform shoes and a very short red-and-white dress. She was making her way down Pike Street from Second Avenue. About eight days later, I was taking the No. 15 bus from West Seattle to the Queen Anne Area, and I happened to look out of the window of the bus and saw her again in the same outfit leaving Pike Place Market with a guy. I had to get another close-up look of this dream girl. I immediately pulled the cord and got off at First and Pine and headed to the corner, however, she was already gone. It was disheartening not to get another glimpse of a woman who should have become a Hollywood starlet."
– Rick, Seattle
"I remember going around town on the buses with my brother and going to a lot of other places too. The buses were a lot of fun. I remember my brother used to see a girl of his dreams on the bus all the time and never had the courage to talk to her. I wonder how often that happened to other people."
– Peggy, Seattle
"A few years ago in Bellevue, I would race the Metro buses down Main Street when the weather was nice and sunny or at least not rainy. When it rained, I would put my bike on the front of the bus and chat with the drivers about the area. They know more than most people and are often happy to chat."
– Jonathan, Shoreline
"I was riding my bus home down Third Avenue downtown, somewhere close to Pine/Pike streets. It was getting on to late afternoon, rush hour, and the bus was stuffed full of people. We saw this little white poodle running – as if for its life – down Third Avenue on the sidewalk trailing a leash. It had obviously gotten away from its owner and was scared to death. Then, the dog dashed out into the street and was run over by a Metro bus that was turning the corner – or so it appeared. It actually went under the wheel and rolled out from under, then kept right on running southbound down Third Avenue. Well, you can imagine the whole bus freaked out, but there was nothing we could do. I did call the animal shelter, as did many others, and they had a spot on this event on the evening news. The dog had been found and was totally unhurt and unscathed."
– Katie, Seattle
"I grew up in Seattle, graduated from Cleveland High School in 1961. I lived at the end of Beacon Avenue on South Burns Street. The bus would pull down onto our street going south from Beacon Avenue and make a circle through our street back up to Beacon Avenue going north. My dad worked for Foster and Marshall in downtown Seattle and would ride the bus daily during the work week. My mother would stand in the kitchen and wave to him every morning as the bus passed by our kitchen window. I took the bus everywhere. In those days, high school kids didn't have cars as frequently as kids do today. If my friends and I wanted to see a movie, we'd climb on a bus and go downtown. Many times a boyfriend would arrive on the bus and we'd board it again to go on our date. It really was my lifeline out of my neighborhood and into the world!"
– Ida, Hoodsport
"I moved to Seattle (Capitol Hill) in the late 1970s, in the aftermath of oil embargoes and gas lines. I remember being fascinated watching the huge spools of brass wire turn into overhead for Metro's new/rebuilt system of electric trolley buses. When the system opened I found I could go almost anywhere I wanted on one of these magic, quiet electric buses that used no fossil fuel, made no odor, and rode as smooth as an elevator. I decided Seattle really had the right idea about buses."
– Peter, Seattle
"The first summer that I lived in Seattle was 1976. The old trolley system was still in place. Having come from the South, I was not ready for a transit system that could totally supplant my need for a car. I was impressed! I was staying up on Capitol Hill that summer, and I would walk all over exploring the area. I will never forget the site of the old Brill trolley – then in semi-regular use on normal runs – as it sat next to the cemetery at the end of its route in those long glowing twilight evenings. It was simply beautiful. I went on to stay in Seattle for 11 years. I still miss the city very much."
– Ken, Tennessee
"Riding the No. 43 across the Montlake Bridge in the spring of 1981, our electric trolley bus hit a dead spot in the overhead wire, and the driver asked a group of us to help her push the bus to the live wire. There were 10 of us with our shoulders against the backside of that bus, but it wouldn't budge. ‘Wait!’ she cried suddenly, ‘I forgot to release the brake.’ My bruised pride healed quickly when the brake came off, and the bus rolled gently to the hot wire."
– Steve, Spokane
"My best Metro memory is meeting my husband. I was riding the 191 to and from work every day. One summer day as I stood waiting at Second and Cherry, a handsome, happy young man pulled up driving my bus. All I could do was stare at him all summer long, every day while he drove me home. After the usual chitchat, I finally got up the nerve to give him a card on his last day driving my route. It contained my phone number and an invitation to get to know each other better. Two hours later, he called! We fast became friends and three years later were married. We have been married almost six years now. A couple years after we were married, my husband fessed up to the story that he was late for his pick of his new route and one was assigned to him because he missed his time. He said he would have never picked that route because he had heard it wasn't one of the most pleasant routes around Seattle. I guess it was fate for us to meet. Needless to say, he hasn't been late to a pick ever again!"
– Julie, Auburn
"She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. No, REALLY!! She had a face that you regularly don't see on a Metro Bus, let alone the 42 to Rainier View. Her face was angelic and her slender body was enough to create a momentary lapse in interest in the Sports Illustrated magazine I was leafing through. We made eye contact and I flashed a nervous smile, then she confidently walked towards me. She walked right to me and asked a question that I never thought she would ask in a million years. ‘Has the 42 come by yet?’ Of course, since my eardrums tightened up, I had to have her repeat the question. I told her that it had not and that I was waiting for it also. She was relieved. She asked if she could wait with me and of course I said, ‘sure.’ Our conversation was effortless. For 45 minutes, we talked about every issue under the sun. She was really interested in moving to California, maybe even to go to school. I asked why she didn’t and she said she was scared to. I told her, ‘You can’t let fears dictate your life.’ As my stop approached, I asked where she was getting off. She said her stop was one of the last on the route and she lived in a purple-colored house I could see from the bus. Neither of us had a pen and we were the last two passengers on the line. We agreed we would see each other again on the bus. ‘If not just come to my house,’ she said. We hugged as I got off at my stop and she continued on from there. Two weeks later, I still had not seen her on the bus so I decided to go to the purple house to see where she was, or if she still existed. A woman answered the door and told me she was her mother. I asked if she was around and she said, "My daughter has finally moved to California to go to school and live.’ I said, ‘Wow!! We were talking about that.’ Her mom said, ‘Yeah some guy on the bus told her not to let her fears hold her back.’ Then she smiled at me. I just smiled back at her. I never saw that girl again.
– Juan, Seattle
"I lived on Queen Anne hill, when I was going to school. I would take the Fort Lawton bus to Lawton School, but if I happened to miss it, I would take the No. 15 bus. It would let me out near the school. This was back in 1946-50. It brings back fond memories."
– Lynne, Texas
"John and I met at 35th and Wallingford (Route 26) in 1985. We dated off and on until Sept. 1987, and then dated steadily. He proposed to me on 7/26/88 to complete the symmetry. Fourteen years later we're still happily married and living in Bellingham. Thanks for the memories!"
– Linda & John, Bellingham
"In 1988 I had just moved to Seattle, and needed to meet my wife in Bellevue late in the afternoon. As I rode the 210 across the I-90 floating bridge, I marveled at the view of the trees, water, and Mt. Rainier. As the bus traveled across the bridge, a boat towing a waterskier pulled up alongside, and kept pace with me. The waterskier and I made eye contact. While crossing the lake with entirely different means, I'm sure we both felt a very special sense of place, and an odd sense of connection, that day."
– Steve, Seattle
"I was commuting from Auburn to Seattle in 1998 via the 152. The driver was a youngish man by the name of Roosevelt. The bus was usually one of those articulated MAN coaches that doesn't seem to have a single bolt tightened. The Northbound I-5 commute at 7 a.m. was horrible even then, but Roosevelt was a traffic master. I would pop in Miles Davis when I got on the bus, and invariably, would hear the same 10-second trumpet run as we descended the off-ramp to Spokane Street. I'll never know how Roosevelt managed to keep that bus from squeaking, or how he managed to keep such a perfect schedule on such a long and complicated trip. I learned how to sleep on a bus thanks to Roosevelt. When he announced one morning that there was going to be a ‘driver shake-up’ and that the next morning would be his last with us, I could feel the emotion in the coach. The next morning, someone passed around a card for Roosevelt, which a good portion of the 60-plus regulars signed. I didn't sign, but told Roosevelt that morning that he was ‘the best driver in the fleet.’ If he's still driving, I imagine he's still the best."
– Trevor, Seattle
"By the time I was a sophomore at the University of Washington, I was an old pro at taking the bus. The 275 took me to and from school every day, and on this particular bus I met the ‘bus girl.’ Each day, I would sit at the back of the bus with a couple of buddies. We would act like goofballs and tell stupid jokes and make fun of each other, until she showed up. A dark-haired, beautiful young woman started taking the 275, and would often sit towards the back of the bus in our sphere of influence. It was decided that the best looking of my friends would approach her (not me) and ask her out. He managed to get her phone number and he called her numerous times without any luck. After a couple of calls, the mysterious bus girl told my friend she was not interested in him, but would be interested in my phone number. A phone call, followed by a date and 10 years together (five married) have resulted in a beautiful daughter and more wonderful memories than I could have thought possible. Here's to Metro and 30 years."
– Tom, Monroe
"I've always enjoyed starting conversations with people on the bus, but one of my favorite things to do is to teach people ‘Jesus Christ Made Seattle Under Protest,’ as a way to remember downtown Seattle streets. After hearing a person ask the driver for a downtown street address, I'll see if they know the saying and let them know it represents the names of two streets (Jefferson/James, Cherry/Columbia, Marion/Madison, Spring/Seneca, University/Union, Pike/Pine). I've always found that both the person I'm talking with and those overhearing our conversation smile at the whole idea, and have told me they appreciate this way of remembering the downtown streets."
– David, Seattle
"When I was a child (late 1940s early 1950s), the bus line on 15th Avenue NE ended at NE 85th Street, which was the city limits. This was the pre-mall era, so in the fall when it came time to buy new school clothes, Mother took my sisters and I to 15th and 85th to catch the bus to downtown Seattle. On the way home from one such trip, I was sitting with my sister, when the bus driver called my name, ‘Terry.’ I asked my sister why he called my name, she didn't know, so I ignored him. A couple of minutes later he called my middle name ‘Lynn.’ Now, every child knows when you're called by your first and middle name, you're wanted front and center right now. I bolted from my seat and asked the bus driver what he wanted. He blankly looked me. I told him he'd called me, I was ‘Terry Lynn.’ I was unaware that he was just calling the names of the streets."
– Terry Lynn, Lynnwood
"In 1982 when I was new to Seattle, I lived near 15th NW and 80th. I had gone by bus to see the John Denver concert and was one of few passengers on the bus close to midnight. The driver questioned how far I had to walk after getting off. I said about six blocks. He called a supervisor who came and drove me to my apartment, escorting me to the door. Later after speaking with a neighbor, I discovered a woman had been murdered recently walking my route that time of night. This was above and beyond the call of duty. I have been a rider of Metro and now Puget Transit, and have never had a bad experience with a driver. They deserve good things."
– Bette Lynne, University Place
"A friend and I were coming home from a rave. We were trying to take the bus back down to the Wallingford area from downtown. The closest we could get to the Wallingford area was taking the Route 7 through Capitol Hill. The bus driver was really nice to us. He offered to take us back to the big bus terminal, where all the buses park at night, and give us a ride home from there. At first, we were a bit nervous, but he gave us both his information. He told us what route he normally drives, his bus number, and his name (even though I cannot remember it). He gave us a ride all the way to Wallingford, and he was really cool about it. If it hadn't been for his generosity that evening, we would have been stuck somewhere cold all night and had to wait until the buses started running the next morning. If he reads this, he'll know who we are. Thanks!"
– Diedre, Seattle
"My best memory is still occurring when I ride certain Metro buses. I have a bus driver named Audrey, who drives the #191 when I get off work. I catch it at 2nd and Union at 4:15 p.m. daily. She is the most courteous, pleasant, caring and thoughtful bus driver I have ever had. She treats all of her bus patrons like wonderful neighbors of hers. It's hard to believe we are ‘just passengers.’ She treats everyone like we are much more than that. She always has a smile and a kind word to say. She has come to know her passengers and they love to see and convey their respect for her to her. "
– Marcea, SeaTac
"I come from Viet Nam. I have been living in the U.S for one year and two months. The first days in the U.S, I really have a lot of troubles. I don't know how to use a car, so I must take a bus to school for studying ESL class. In my country, I usually just use bike or motorcycle by myself for moving. I rarely take the bus because the buses are just in big cities; and if I take bus, I just call ‘driver, stop.’ In contrast, it is totally different here. If I want to take get off, I must ring the bell. I remembered the first time I took the bus from school to my home. I worried the bus would pass through the way to my home, so I had rung the bell early. Therefore, the driver stopped at bus station that was far from my house. I knew that, but I was embarrassed, and I didn't know how to talk with driver. I got out and walk about one mile to my home. That was an experience for me to use the bus. Now it is easy. I still take the bus every day to school. Every time I remember about that, I always smile to myself."
- Thanh Phuong, Kent