“Cheers, mate”, “Thanks, driver”, “Thank you”, “Nice one, pal”. It’s what you’ll hear on buses throughout Britain as, one-by-one, we shuffle out onto the street. Thanking the bus driver is a beautiful quirk of us Brits; a mundane politeness which makes the world a little nicer.
What makes thanking bus drivers so great is that there’s really no need for it. It’s not like you’re touching down after a long-haul flight where your life has been in the hands of an expert pilot. It’s a bus (as pictured above by David Henderson); you’ve only been driven 10 minutes down the road.
And it’s not like we ever run to the front of a train, bang on the driver’s window and start giving them a big thumbs-up. No, this is something unique to the world of bus travel.
That’s the beauty of this particular ritual. It’s a totally mindless and senseless form of niceness. We don’t even expect anything in return. We realise the bus driver has to cope with hundreds and hundreds of us mumbling thanks to them every day.
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