How to (not) win friends and influence tourists
October 29, 2013
On Monday, October 21st, my wife and I, as well as two of our friends, attempted to get on bus number seven to Somerset. The bus had stopped across from the Waterlot Inn, at the bottom of the hill from the Fairmont Southampton, where we were staying for the week.
Our friends boarded the bus ahead of us and had their three-day bus cards punched. My wife and I didn't decide to use the bus until the last minute and we were under the assumption that you could pay on-board. I had no idea how much it cost. The driver (who was later identified) initially took my two twenty dollar bills and then looked at me and said, “YOU NEED TOKENS.” I told her I had exact change if she told me how much the fare was. In a very disgusted tone she again said “YOU NEED TOKENS.”
I was very appalled by the attitude she displayed. I replied, now irritated myself by her lack of common courtesy, “I guess I'm going back up the hill!” She then proceeded to throw my money back at me. I shook my head, picked up the money, and stepped off of her bus, extremely insulted and upset.
Another woman on the bus quickly stepped forward saying “I have tokens they can use.” At that point the driver yelled at her to “Sit down,” closing the door. We would like to thank that Good Samaritan for her kindness if by chance she's reading this.
The type of behaviour displayed by this bus driver is a slap on the face of the tourists and a blemish on Bermuda's otherwise beautiful face. We frequently vacation in your country, over eighteen times and counting, but have never encountered a native so rude and unfriendly. She may have had a bad day (apparently that happens frequently, according to those we spoke with who know her) but she shouldn't be taking it out on others. We own a business that deals and relies on the public to thrive, and our employees all understand you leave your problems at the door when you come to work.
Throughout the rest of our stay we shared our story with many, and had multiple Bermudians apologise to us. We told all of them not to apologise to us for the misdoings of another and rest assured one incident would not deter us from visiting our favourite island.
That being said, what if it had only been our first or second time there? What if we had not forged the relationships we have with locals over the years, and understood this woman's attitude to be the exception, not the rule? That is the purpose for this letter. Hopefully it will prevent a similar incident from occurring. We would hate to see someone leave Bermuda with a less than pleasant opinion about her hospitality.