Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A rose by any other name

Broward County employees, including Transit Division bus operators, are encouraged to look at our positions from the standpoint of customer service. We practice SUNsational Service on a daily basis to let our customers know we appreciate them and to make an otherwise ordinary experience (like riding the bus) an extraordinary experience. We hold ourselves to a high standard and try to go above and beyond with each customer/passenger. I personally hope this conveys my gratitude for each and every passenger getting on board. There is no room for resentment here. These are good habits for any service company, and one of the reasons I attempt to greet everyone who boards my bus (another being it's just fun to see familiar faces and meet new folks). I'm not necessarily expecting a response to my greeting, but most of the time there is one and it usually includes a name for the driver. So far this summer my fellow Browardians have heaped more names on me than I could ask for. Many are repeats, customary names for the driver. And then there are the one-offs, or a name certain passengers reserve for their favorite drivers, and a number of creative monikers from the active minds all around us. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just names from the last couple months in no particular order:

Boss
Brotha
Man
Sir
Mon
Partner
Chief
Bus Driver
Papa
Se├▒or
Captain
Sweetheart
Ma'am
Pops
Bro
Buddy
Sweetie
Young Man
Papi
Michael J. Fox
Superstar
Bud
Driver
Honey
Brother
Guy
Cap'n
Operator
My Favorite
Darling
Kid
Pussycat
Dude
My Friend
Mister
Big Dog
Baby
Monsieur
Cutie
Papacito
My Man
Stranger
Ami
Dahling
Handsome
Babydoll

Who knew one person could be so many different people? It's fun to look back on this list now and see all the influences and variety that pass through the bus doors. It's easy to see the Hispanic and Islands flavor we have here, something author Joel Garreau observed places South Florida in a separate region from the rest of the US:  Nine Nations - The Islands. In fact, sometimes I find myself responding in kind with the same tongue, usually out of a desire to expand my linguistics, occasionally out of habit. This is not to say I don't enjoy the garden variety English titles, since any name bestowed with friendliness is appreciated. Rather, those rarities not heard dozens of times a day are the ones that stick out, impossible to ignore. And yes, I was called ma'am once - despite the facial hair.

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