T workers often get a bad rap for all sorts of sins. But for every rude remark or apathetic response some might utter, there are countless acts of unexpected kindness carried out by the men and women of the MBTA each day.
People such as T bus driver Ricardo Miranda.
“There was no prompting. I wasn’t hitching a ride. I didn’t even wave at him. I was just standing there. He took the initiative to help me out. He didn’t even know me. I thought when I got off the bus, it’s those gracious gestures that make our community a decent and great place to live,” John Bain, 55, said of the Route #78 bus driver’s thoughtful deed.
It was 6:30 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 18. Temperatures hovered in the mid-20s as Bain, a college research administrator, stood at the corner of Wachusett and Hillside avenues in Arlington for 10 minutes waiting for an inbound bus to take him to a doctor’s appointment at a Cambridge hospital.
An outbound bus stopped suddenly across the street, but no passengers got out.
Instead, Miranda opened his window and called out to Bain: “You know I’m the only bus out here. I will have to go and turn around at the terminus and then come back to pick you up. You’re going to be standing here that whole time. Why don’t you hop in and ride in a nice warm bus?”
Miranda, 49, could have kept on driving, ignoring Bain, who would have waited a half hour for his bus — the only #78 on the road at the hour — to finish its route at Arlmont Village and loop back. Instead, Miranda displayed some compassion. He was surprised by Bain’s response.
“He said ‘Thank you.’ I just looked at him like he had two heads. There’s no reason to thank me. I was just doing my job,” Miranda said.
“I love my job, because I get to help people out,” said the 10-year T employee, who often steps off his bus to assist old ladies with grocery carts and moms with strollers. “They think I’m the nicest guy in the world for just being courteous.”
Little did Miranda know the stranger he stopped for that chilly morning is the husband of MassDOT highway administrator Luisa Paiewonsky.
“From a personal perspective,” Paiewonsky said, “it was nice to hear that this bus driver who was a complete stranger to my husband stopped and offered him a ride to get out of the cold. It was just such a nice human touch.”
After learning of Miranda’s kindness, MBTA General Manager Richard Davey met him Thursday to thank him and let him know a commendation is on the way. Whether it’s working for the T or corporate America, Davey said, some workers take their jobs more seriously then others. Miranda didn’t run into a burning building to save a baby. He just showed a little heart and spread some civility.
“This guy was having a tough day and our employee happened to make it a little better,” Davey said. “He took the time to help him get out of the cold, and it ended up really touching that customer.”