Suna Karabay (45) has driven the No. 15 city bus on Denver's Colfax Avenue for almost ten years. Eli Saslow of The Washington Post rode the route with her. Every paragraph of his story has something shocking or mind-boggling in it.
Denver (my hometown) is currently suffering from a wave of violent crime, drug abuse, and homelessness, and Karabay has been "spit on, hit with a toolbox, threatened with a knife, pushed in the back while driving and chased into a restroom during her break." Her experiences as a driver remind me of scenes from Children of Men where commuter trains and car drivers were under constant assault: "Her windshield had been shattered with rocks or glass bottles three times."
From the article:
Two teenagers were burning something that looked like tinfoil in the back of the bus. A woman in a wheelchair was hiding an open 32-ounce can of beer in her purse and drinking from it with a straw. A construction worker holding a large road sign that read "SLOW" sat down in the first row next to a teenage girl, who scooted away toward the window.
"This sign isn't meant for me and you," the construction worker told the teenager, as Suna idled at a red light and listened in. "We can take it fast."
"I'm 15," the girl said. "I'm in high school."
Suna leaned out from her seat and yelled: "Leave her alone!"
"All right. All right," the construction worker said, holding up his hands in mock surrender. He waited a moment and turned back to the teenager. "But do you got an older sister?"
I recommend reading the article in full, and here are a few random snippets to pique your interest:
- "mentally unstable passenger tried to punch a crying toddler, only to be tackled and then shot in the chest by the toddler's father."
- "Suna had once asked a man in a red bikini to stop smoking fentanyl, and he'd shouted "Here's your covid, bitch!" before spitting in her face."
- "homeless man who swallowed a handful of pills, urinated on the bus, and asked her to call an ambulance, explaining that he'd poisoned himself so he could spend the holiday in a hospital with warm meals and a bed."
- "Who ain't never been knocked out before?" he asked, as the woman lay unconscious in the aisle, and then he stood over her as the other passengers sat in their seats and watched. "Here's one more," he said, stomping hard on her chest."