photos: Photo by David Denofreo, Black Opal Images

Surviving transit, together

Vancouver vendor Peter Thompson reflects on some stand-out transit experiences he's had over the years

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My main source of travel is transit.

My commute from 31st and Victoria to Heatley, and to 4th and Vine, then back home again on a daily basis is always a different adventure. There is something new every day, something funny.

Like one morning a guy got on the bus, he had a tool belt on and soon as he sat down a bunch of screws fell out onto the floor around him. As he was picking them up he says, “Funny thing is, I dreamt I bought a magnet.” We burst out laughing, then he says, “You think that’s funny, hey?” So I say, “Maybe you should follow your dream.”

It’s always good during the commute if you could make someone’s day or they make yours. It makes traveling all the better.

Another time, the bus driver slammed on his brakes and this young lady slid off her seat and flat on her butt. She was mad and cussing, but it was a good thing she never got injured.

Another time, while riding home, someone recognized me. It felt good. As she sat behind me, she asked, “Hey, do you have the magazine?” So I gave her the magazine. She hands me $5 and tells me to keep the change. That has happened quite a few times during my commute.

I also remember long ago my friend sent me for a beer run, his wife lent me a backpack. I walked to the liquor store and caught the bus back. It was standing room only, so the bus movement and the weight of the beer caused the bag to bust and beer rolled everywhere. It could have been a free for all, but the people were very helpful, they came to my aid by picking up all the beer. As I got back, I told his wife, and she said, “You owe me a new pack.”

I said, “It broke for a reason, give you something to do when you are bored.”

I also remember when the snowfall was heavier and a tree fell on the SkyTrain tracks. I was shopping at Metrotown. I came out to catch the bus, the train station and the bus loop looked like a New York subway station at rush hour. One bus came in, everyone was scrambling to get on, pushing and shoving, even getting on the rear door—that was a crazy trip.

And heading home one night a car tried to do a U-turn to beat the bus, but instead he slammed right into it. The bus hit its brakes, parts were flying by the window.

Good thing nobody was injured in this incident. It happened down the hill from my place, and that accident was going to be tied up for a while so I journeyed up the hill.

Thank you all for your support and friendship, good to see you all on a daily basis, take care.

Peter sells outside Whole Foods at 4th and Vine in Vancouver. Photo by David Denofreo, Black Opal Images.

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312 Main St
Vancouver, BC
V6A 2T2