She had me at Care Bears. I’ve commuted to work by bus for over a year, riding the #545 from Seattle to Redmond three times a week. In that time, I’ve never had a driver display Care Bears on the front dash with their little friendly faces peering out the window.
“Welcome! It’s good to see you! Hope you’re having a great day!” Bonnie, the bus driver greeted every new passenger with booming enthusiasm. I know her name is Bonnie because when I took my seat near the front, I read the messages she had written on the black electrical box and first four front passenger widows.
“My name is Bonnie, welcome to my bus!” said one message in neon pink and green marker. Another let us know that feedback was welcomed and provided a number to text. A different message wished us all a happy day, underscored with smiley faces. I smiled too.
I had been in this woman’s presence for less than a minute and I wanted nothing more than for Care Bear Bonnie to be my new best friend. Because, the truth is, I’ve been kind of lonely. After a 25-year-absence, I’m back home in my native city. Not only has Seattle changed, it’s changed me in ways I didn’t expect. I didn’t think it would be that hard for an extrovert like me to meet new people and make meaningful connections. It’s not until I watched Bonnie put herself out there that I realized I’ve stopped.
“Have a good night!” Bonnie says goodbye to exiting passengers with the same level of exuberance she had [when she] greeted them. Some people look startled; others appear annoyed at the level of interaction. Undeterred, Bonnie checks her mirrors, surveys the crowd, and then plays recorded messages that I’d never heard. We are reminded to keep our cell phone conversations to a minimum so as not to disturb others. Soon, we are asked keep windows closed to maintain climate control. Heads turn to find the offending passenger.
As we merge onto I-5, Bonnie picks up the microphone. In a mashup between a Duck
Boat tour and an Argosy cruise, she announces, “Good evening everyone! My name is Bonnie, so glad to have you on board! Our next stop is Seattle, so sit back and relax. On your right you’ll notice South Lake Union. Look at that view!” And I look, because I want to see Seattle the way Bonnie does – the way I used to before being met with polite indifference.
I walk home that night determined to be as bold as Bonnie. I decide that I’m going to thank her the following night on my ride home. But, I’ve never seen her again. It was one magical bus ride that inspired me to take a chance again.
So here it goes: Hello, Seattle. My name is Susan. Want to be friends?
Want to take Susan up on her personal challenge to connect with strangers, a.k.a. future friends? Reach her on Twitter at @SpeakerSusanFee. Send us your kudos to a fellow local here. Love good vibes and celebrating people doing awesome things for our city? Join us next Thursday as we celebrate our second birthday and the launch of the Evergrey Giving Guide, made possible by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
♥️ Wednesday Nov. 28: Fine tune your emotional intelligence at this Impact Hub Lunch + Learn (Pioneer Square)
🍸 Wednesday, Nov. 28: Listen to our mayor, Jenny Durkan, reflect on her first year in office at Seattle CityClub’s final Civic Cocktail of the year (Belltown)
🎉 Thursday, Nov. 29: Celebrate The Evergrey’s second birthday with food, drinks, activities, and loads of love for the 206. (Capitol Hill) — Don’t miss it!
👔 Thursday, Nov. 29: Look good and feel good at this Men’s Fashion Workshop with Foundation and Seattle Gents (Downtown)
🎟 Belly laugh at a stand up show featuring comedians of color (Central District)
🍴 Bring a dish to celebrate Friendsgiving with your neighbors (Capitol Hill)
🍴 Eat dinner with your chosen family and LGBTQ+ community (SoDo)
TOMORROW ~ THANKSGIVING
🍴 Celebrate Thanksgiving with your neighbors at this community potluck (Hillman City)
🏞 Put on your coolest sweatband and run a 5K to Golden Gardens (Ballard)
🎈 Take your tots for a run before you feast (Montlake)
🎟 Go watch Annie at the 5th Avenue Theatre — through Dec. 30 (Downtown)
🎈 See Santa and lots of floats at the Macy’s Day parade (Downtown)
🍴 Grab a po’boy and sip sangria at Seattle’s social justice library (Beacon Hill)
🎈 Watch the big downtown Christmas trees light up (Downtown and Bellevue)
🎶 Rock out to this live tribute to The Last Waltz (University District)
🎈 Get dazzled at this giant holiday maze and market (SoDo)
🎈 Take the fam to decorate cookies at Pike Place (Downtown)
👋 Take a deep breath at this forest therapy walk with fellow LGBTQ+ Seattleites (Montlake)
🎈 Shop small at this market and virtual reality pop-up (Beacon Hill)
🍴 Nibble on happy hour bites at this holiday food walk (International District)
💃 Dance it out to Britney Spears and your other fave pop hits (Capitol Hill)
👋 Find a gift for your favorite nerds at this geeky market — through Sunday (Sand Point)
🎟 Embrace the supernatural at Twilight Zone LIVE — through Dec. 15 (Belltown)
🎨 Get your holiday shopping done early at this Native arts fair (West Seattle)
🎟 Head to the theatre for a film noir-inspired holiday thriller — through Dec. 24 (Green Lake)
Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag #theevergrey on Instagram. Learn what our emojis mean here, see more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with an Evergrey membership. Is an event sold out? Hit reply to let us know and we’ll update the listing in tomorrow’s newsletter.
Thanks to its new glass floor, the Space Needle’s feeling extra proud of the way it’s setting up its Santa pics this year. ‘Cause when they snap a shot of your kiddos in Santa’s sleigh, it’ll look like they’re soaring over the city. Impressed? Here’s when you can catch Santa mid-flight.
Now let’s get basted. 🦃 — The Evergrey