Clowning Around on the Bus
If you’ve ever ridden Route 2, the odds are good that Christine Daley has sat next to you and struck up a conversation.
“I really enjoy people who bring their kids on the bus, the little ones,” said Daley, who has the safe aura of a grandmother. She makes eye contact with the kids, they smile and soon the parents are drawn into a conversation with her.
Her day job is working as a receptionist at Oregon Employment Department headquarters in Salem. It’s her sideline occupation that explains her knack with kids. She’s been a professional clown, who entertains at children’s birthday parties, for more than 20 years.
Corky, her clowning alter ego, has never hopped aboard a bus --not even a tiny one -- to get to work. Daley, however, relies on Cherriots to make her commute from Woodburn to her state job in Salem.
The state worker drives her car for part of the trip. She uses a park and ride at Hawthorne Avenue Northeast and Market Street Northeast in Salem, and then gets on a Cherriots bus.
Why she rides
For Daley, who’s been a Cherriots rider for about a year, the scarcity and high cost of parking at the Capitol Mall made taking the bus an easy decision. She previously paid $6 a day to park in the state’s Yellow Lot.
“My reduced senior rate for a bus pass is $22.50 a month, so it’s a no-brainer,” Daley said. When she’s ready to go home, she waits at a bus stop across the street from her office.
Five years ago, Daley got on the waiting list for a space in the state’s underground parking structure at the Capitol Mall. She recently received an email saying she was 15th from the top of the list.
“They said it was $65 a month (to rent a parking space). I am going to stick with the bus,” Daley said.
Her favorite transit operator is Heidi Moffitt, whose cheerful disposition rubs off on passengers. But Daley also appreciates that transit operators can be stern when necessary, such as the time when a young woman loudly spewed profanities while talking on a cell phone.
Daley confronted the passenger, who became belligerent. The transit operator intervened and gave the offensive passenger the choice of cleaning up her language or getting off the bus.
Daley said anyone can learn to adjust their morning routine and get to the bus stop on time. Also, she said, remember to talk with your “bus buddies.”
Sometimes, kind words can change lives.
Daley remembers a shy teen on the bus, who had tuned out the world with headphones. She began talking with the withdrawn girl, and over the course of several bus rides, the teen became animated and began sharing her stories.
Do you have a great story about riding Cherriots or have a suggestion for a rider profile? Contact us at email@example.com.