Sunday, October 24, 2010

Guest Blogger

Today I am having a guest blogger.  My friend Peggy sent this to me yesterday and I got her permission to post it. Peggy has lived and worked in China for over 12 year.  She is my go-to person for all things Chinese!  I can ask her any question about Chinese language or culture and trust her answer.  Our family appreciates her.
 Our Chinese teachers have told us that if we are ever in a bus and notice that our cell phones or wallets are stolen, that would should tell the bus driver to stop the bus.  Apparently it's true!

Yesterday after a meeting, I left the international school on the staff bus 
with the Chinese staff at 4:30.  Some of us got off at the foreign languages
 high school and I walked with another woman up to the bus stop.  After a long
 wait during which the bus I wanted never came, I decided to get on a bus that 
would take me part way, then change to the 167 to get the rest of the way home.  
The result of this decision was very interesting.

As I waited for the bus, there were two guys talking behind me.  When we got
 on the bus, I noted that one of them had a student bus pass (when you swipe
a student pass, an electronic voice announces, “student card” – I guess to cut
 down on misuse).  I also noticed that he was quite short, but his voice didn’t
 sound like a student’s.

When we were about halfway through the 10-minute ride from that stop to the
 one near our apartment (with several stops in between), the woman next to me
 suddenly called out, “Driver, my cell phone is gone.  Don’t open the door.”
That got everyone’s attention, but nobody said or did anything.  The driver said to
 call the number, and of course she asked how she could when her phone was missing
.  Then a man near the front of the bus asked what her number was.  She called the
number to him and right next to me a phone started ringing.  She couldn’t tell where
 the sound was coming from at first – she started going through her own bag looking
 for it, but from where I was standing, I could tell it was coming from a bag that the short man
 with the student pass was carrying.  Soon she figured that out too, though no one
 else said anything yet or made any move.  Meanwhile, the bus had pulled off to the side
of the road.  She started talking to the man, saying things like, “I can see that you are young
– just give me the phone back and I’ll let you go.  I won’t press charges if you just give the
phone back to me.  Just let me have the phone.”  The man didn’t say a word or acknowledge
 that anyone was addressing him; he just walked to the back door of the bus to get off.  I was
 afraid that the driver was going to open the door and the man would be gone in a moment.
 But instead, he kept the door closed and started driving down the lane that goes to our local
 Xinggong Street police station, off the main road.  I think we all wanted to cheer, but still no one except
 the woman said anything.  As the bus got closer to the police station, a couple of other people
 urged the man to give the phone back before the police got on the bus, but he made signs as if
 to say he was deaf and didn’t know what they were saying.  The woman made one last plea,
 “Just put the phone on the floor and get off the bus, quick before the police come,” but by then
 the police were getting on the bus.  One policeman grabbed him and told him to get off the bus. 
He just stood there and then the policeman started yelling in his face to get off the bus.  Eventually,
 he just pulled the guy off the bus.  Then another policeman asked if anyone was with him.
  It seemed like a man at the front indicated he was, but I can’t imagine why he would admit it.

Once the man and the police were off the bus, everyone started talking as the bus started backing
 down the narrow street back to the main road.  “He didn’t even have time to turn off the phone.”
 “ I can’t believe he was so stupid.”   “He had a chance to get away and he didn’t take it.”  We also
checked to make sure our own cell phones were still with us.  However, the bus didn’t get very far
because Shenyang drivers don’t pay too much attention to things like a bus trying to back out of a
lane so a car pulled in behind the bus and just sat there.  So people asked the driver to open the door
and let them off the bus.  I got off there, too.  As I started to walk the rest of the way home, I could
 see that the car behind the bus wasn’t in any hurry to back up and let the bus out onto the main road. 
These days, you can almost always get places faster on a bike and sometimes on foot than
by bus or taxi, especially during rush hour times.

So many people have had phones, money and other valuables stolen like that,
 so those on the bus were all happy to see justice done—me included.  I would have been very
 disappointed if the police hadn’t nabbed him.

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