Rousing chorus of "Lean on Me" perks up a somber bus ride

Occasionally I will feature the best reader stories posted in comments at Crazy Commuting Tales. You can always read them or post your own by clicking the button in the top nav bar.

Today’s story comes from a long-time CTA employee who had many jobs at the CTA, including bus servicer, apprentice mechanic, bus operator, transit patrolman (CTA
Police), line instructor, supervisor, and finally controller. Thanks to Wolfmandawson for sharing this memory:

This happened many years ago, but I think the story is still worth telling…

Gawd, this has to be around the late summer/early fall of 1983 (I
think). It was a Saturday night, and the #8 Halsted had just picked up a
good number of passengers from the Englewood Station and at 63rd

It was one of the older raggedy green and white GM buses with
the cushioned green seats that was long before the days of
air-conditioning. The bus was pretty somber as it headed north. People
were just tired I guess and wanted to get to where they were going.

of the passengers had a boom box and turned it on. The music was a nice
diversion and cut through the silence, so as the driver, I didn’t say

By the time we got to Garfield Boulevard, the next song to
cue up was the hip-hop version of “Lean On Me” (I can’t recall who does
that). The guy with the boom box turned it up a little, and one by one,
people started to sing along.

Soon, the entire bus was rocking with the
chorus of the song. Hell, I was even singing! By the time we were at
47th Street, the song was over, the boom box quieted and the people on
the bus were in a much better mood than they were a few blocks ago.

Some people were in tears, but all were smiling, and sharing the moment
with each other! It was contagious! They all shared in a moment. We all
did! By the time the bus reached Roosevelt Road the moment had passed,
and it was back to normalcy.

It’s just one of many adventures that stick out in my mind from a long career at CTA.

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