steffanie rivers

Stteffanie Rivers

*If you thought the Saturday Night Live parody of the Vice Presidential debate was humorous, then you’ll love the homemade skits posted on YouTube depicting that Cleveland bus driver who put the rope-a-dope on that loud mouth female passenger (“woman” might be too feminine a word to describe her) on his bus who had the nerve to spit and put her hands on him! The altercation happened more than a month ago, but video of the incident just went viral. If you haven’t seen it, do a YouTube search for “Cleveland Uppercut.”  OR, simply scroll down watch it. Clearly the bus driver missed his calling as a Golden Gloves boxer!

I don’t condone violence as a way to handle conflict, but if anybody EVER deserved to get punched in the face – and then become the laughing stock of America– this girl is the one! If that three minute video was any indication of how she behaves on a daily basis, she had that smack down coming. And the bus driver, who had driven buses for 22-years, surely had experienced his share of rude passengers and knew the protocol for dealing with people like her! He could have/should have pulled over and put her off the bus or called law enforcement for backup. Apparently she caught him on the wrong day. Currently he is suspended and she has filed a lawsuit against him.

But enough about those two; what about the other passengers on the bus who – instead of calling law enforcement or standing up to the girl and telling her to shut up and sit down – stood by and recorded the incident and then posted it on YouTube? At least three passengers videotaped the event. And one person is shown standing in a row of seats on the moving bus to get a better camera angle. SMH! Obviously the bus driver had his hands full trying to drive safely. Add to that the stress of having to engage in verbal combat with this girl and watch her over his shoulder, it’s no wonder he experienced something akin to a war veteran flashback!

If just one passenger riding the bus would have had the guts to confront this girl about her behavior the situation might not have escalated. Instead, they videotaped her probably making the situation worse.

It’s called the “bystander effect” whereby witnesses fail to act, even though morally they know they should! Why? They’re waiting on somebody else to do the right thing.

I can recall at least three incidents where I spoke up on behalf of someone in distress: Two were potential domestic violence situations and the other was a school bully. And a few years ago I had to tell a teenaged boy in the library – taller and much bigger than me – to turn down the music blasting from his headphones because he was in the library! I’m not one to sit by waiting for somebody else to take action.

There are plenty of examples throughout history where the “bystander effect” has led to somebody’s serious injury or public death as witnesses walk by without offering help. So, okay, nobody died in the Cleveland Uppercut incident, but I believe the failure of other passengers to interject with words of reason just made matters worse.

Why in this case would a 20-something year old female feel it’s acceptable to treat another person with such disrespect and put the lives of others in jeopardy? Because most people have abandoned the village mentality, that’s why. You know the mentality that dictates it takes a village to raise a child. Apparently this female missed out on etiquette class and I venture to say she had little to no positive role models during her formative years. Even so, that’s no excuse for her behavior and someone riding the bus should have told her that. A wise man said “The world is becoming more dangerous not because of those who do bad things, but because good people stand by and watch it happen,” videotape it then put it on YouTube for laughs.

Steffanie Rivers is a freelance writer living in the Dallas, Texas metro area. For comments, complaints or to book for her speaking engagements email to: [email protected]