Bus Ride From Hades

bus 150x150 Bus Ride From HadesRecently I had to take a bus. I needed to get down to my parents’ home. (By car it takes five hours. The bus was supposed to take eight.) My troubles started as soon as I boarded. The air conditioning was not working at all. It was 83 degrees on the bus.

We had only been underway for about an hour when the bus broke down. The motor simply would not start. The bus driver announced that the company was sending another bus. After 30 minutes, he tried again, and the motor started! Hallelujah, we thought. But the nightmare was just beginning.

We drove off and 30 minutes later, the bus died. On a steep uphill climb. The driver pulled to the side of the road. We sat there, hot and miserable, for a long time.

Finally the driver announced that he had called the good people at Hoots Café in Whitebird, 20 minutes away, and they were driving up to get us, in their personal vehicles. What generosity! If you’re ever in Idaho, please visit this business. They deserve your money. Talk about going above and beyond.

Unfortunately, that was the last time I ever saw or heard from that bus driver. My nine companions and I sat in the café, also not air-conditioned, for five hours. What did we hear from the bus company? Nothing.

I finally called my dad, who began calling bus HQ. Two teen riders, sisters, had their dad also calling. The only information our families were given was that our bus had broken down in Riggins, a town to the south of us. My dad had to give them the correct information!

Finally, at about 6:30 p.m., a bus drove past the café without stopping. The waitress told us they were probably going to the stranded bus to collect checked luggage. We sure didn’t get that information from the bus company. Half an hour later, our relief bus pulled in to the café.

I finally arrived at my destination, worn out, hot, and stressed, at 8:30 p.m.—a far cry from my promised arrival at 3:10. My dad was pretty beat too. He had spent the day going back and forth to the store that serves as our bus station. Every time he asked store staff if they had heard when the bus was coming they had said “No, they don’t communicate with us.”

I complained to bus HQ when I got back. Although they were careful to point out that they had no legal liability, in the interest of customer service they did agree to refund the bad half of my ticket.

What do you do when you have a gripe with a company? Do you file a complaint? Do you seethe in silence, vowing never to use them again? Do you write a customer review? Which sites do you use?

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About Holly Doering

Holly Doering has worked for the Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and Montana for half a decade. Her areas of expertise include the CORE Values Program (Character, Optimism, Respect, Ethics) for Teens and Charity Review as well as writing and editing. Prior to that, she has written for two newspapers, a local magazine, and taught English at the community college. She is the proud author of a short story in ZYZZYVA literary magazine and has had good luck publishing lots of poetry. Each year she rolls up her sleeves and wades into the autumn Nanowrimo writing madness and has several unfinished novels to her credit.