Our ChicagoNow manager is posting daily questions for us bloggers to respond to? Last week’s question was:
“What makes Chicago the best city in the world?”
You can find that question and all our responses here.
I quickly answered:
Chicago is the best because the fella at the Broadway box office is the same guy you run into on the No. 36 bus. You strike up a conversation and the next thing you know... discounted tickets for your next show!
We were downtown on a chilly December evening, visiting the festive Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza. Since we were in the neighborhood, we stopped at the box office on Randolph to secure tickets to see Beautiful – the Carole King Story.
The box office employees always intimidate me. I feel as if I’m interrupting their personal time. Of course, this makes no sense since they are essentially there to serve the public. But when I’m buying tickets, I feel pressured to know the exact date, time, price range, day-of-event weather and whether we’ll be able to see the stage.
And there’s always a line of customers behind me, as I imagine them impatiently tapping their feet at my slowness.
So Much Pressure!!
This time was slightly different. There was only one other customer, already engaged at the first ticket window. I approached the second window and recognized the gentleman from my morning bus connection. He looked scarier in the booth, dressed all in black. He’s tall and has a foreboding demeanor, including a serious face expression that never seems to waver.
I walked up to his window with less courage than Dorothy had when meeting the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz.
“I’d like to purchase tickets to see Beautiful, please,” I quietly murmured. If I used plenty of Please and Thank You’s, he just might be civil to me. Isn’t that how it works?
“Do you want to buy them from me or the lady next to me?” he bellowed back. “Because she’s the nice one; I’m not.”
Time To Put On the Ol' Charm
And that’s when my feminine side kicked in. “I’d like to buy them from you, please,” I responded with a bright smile and batted my eyes (meanwhile, my husband was rolling his own).
"I see you riding the No. 36 CTA bus in the mornings," I continued.
“Are you following me?” he queried with a raised brow.
“Yes, I’m your stalker,” I replied. I went on to admit how I recognized him from my morning commute and tossed in a couple more Please and Thank You’s.
He seemed to like that.
And, long story short, he helped me find half-price tickets for the show later that month. All in all, he’s a nice gentleman. All bark and no bite, as they say. In fact, he’s a typical Chicagoan who greeted me in a no-nonsense manner and went on to provide me with excellent customer service. Behind the façade, he’s genuine and warm hearted, promising to look out for me next time he rides the CTA.
My husband and I left with our tickets in hand -- an early Christmas gift for our family.
Will this new friendship provide me with discounted tickets on future Broadway shows? Nope. I think not.
But I do have a friendly face to watch for on a cold ride into the office. Like many others, we head for our favorite seats on the bus, and I know where he sits. Whereas we used to follow the unspoken rule of not making eye contact in public, we now say “Good Morning” to one another.
So now our bus ride is a little bit more pleasant.
And that is one of the many reasons why Chicago Is The Best City In The World.
For more CTA stories, click here. Enjoy and share on Facebook. Thank you for reading.