Picture of a bus from 1962

Why Am I At a McDonald’s at 5 a.m.

I called my Mom again. Her Greyhound bus was supposed to leave at 10:15 a.m., but I hadn’t heard from her yet. It was 12:30 p.m. We had a bit of time between the arrival of the bus and the departure of the train, but this was quickly being eroded away.

Each and every employee is important to a business. The wrong employee or someone new who wasn’t given the proper tools or training is a liability to the business, either in personal or financial capital.

My mom doesn’t like flying. Between the TSA, being unsure of what is allowed or not allowed, trying to transverse through DFW (where all flights from her home town fly connect to the larger air network), and somehow always having delays when flying, she’s done with it.

Amtrak provided the next best option—both in terms of speed and price—but the closest train station was still 100 miles away. In the past, family or friends were able to drop her off on their way to other places, but this time, no one was traveling at the right time in the right direction.

After arriving at the bus station, she was told the bus was running just over two hours behind. Okay, we had enough time built-in for her connection. As she waited, she started talking with others in terminal, including a lady whose daughter was en route on the bus.

Picture of a bus from 1962
Greyhound: Transit of the Future photocredit: flickr/autohistorian

Greyhound has one disadvantage compared to airlines—cell phones work. When things are odd on the ride, it is easy for anyone to share the experience at no additional cost.

The daughter said the bus was behind because of a new driver.

As 12:30 p.m., the new word is that the bus would be in at 1:30 p.m. Then, 2:30 p.m. Word from the daughter—the bus driver is just completely lost. Passengers on the bus were trying to help by providing directions. At one point, word passed that the bus had completely skipped my mom’s city and was 30+ minutes out-of-town.

In the end, at 2:30 p.m., when my mom was getting into a car to drive back home—since the schedule was shot and there was no way to get her to Austin via bus/train on this day, she saw the bus pulling up, with a police escort. The officers seemingly took pity on the souls wandering aimlessly trying to go somewhere for Christmas.

I can appreciate new drivers being unfamiliar with a route. I don’t understand why you would put someone new in the position over the holidays without, at least, ensuring there was a GPS unit or the driver and dispatch both had an idea of how to resolve being lost without a four-hour delay.

I truly don’t blame the driver. No one wants to be bad at their job. No one should be bad at their job, if they’re trying. Either the hiring process failed to connect the right person to the position, training failed to bring the person up to speed on the internal operations of the company, or operations failed to handle the situation.

So now, I sit in a McDonald’s at 5:00 a.m. in the middle of nowhere over an hour from home waiting for my niece to pull up with my mom on her way to her boyfriend’s house for Christmas.

Merry Christmas, Greyhound.





One response to “Why Am I At a McDonald’s at 5 a.m.

  1. M. R. Avatar

    It’s not … ahh … RIGHT to say one likes this post, Brandon – it makes the blood boil. Your mum might easily be very old, say, or even not terribly well: thank all the gods that she’s neither. Greyhound should be (but won’t) embarrassed. Oh well; I s’pose the bottom line is that there seems to be some reason for Macca’s. :-

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