Alan Wildes

Alan Wildes

Delayed flight to public transportation to radical generosity – Part 2

This is part 2 of a 3 part posting.  Please read part 1 if you want to be up to speed.

It’s been a long day already, but I suggested we try and go to the restaurant.  The hotel shuttle will take you anywhere within a 10 mile radius so we looked it up on Google Maps and it showed 11.8 miles from the hotel to the restaurant.  We asked for an exception, but no dice.  We were pretty bummed because Michael, our shuttle driver, told us it would be a $40 -50 cab fare each way.  He then told us we could ride the bus from the hotel to very close to the restaurant for $4 each way.  We took that into consideration as we headed to the room.

I am not necessarily an adventurous guy by nature, but I am a free style mountain climbing, bungee jumping, skydiving daredevil compared to Pam.  The thought of riding public transportation in a strange city just about sent her over the edge!  BUT, she REALLY wanted to go to this restaurant.  After a few minutes of deliberation and the fact that we didn’t have a lot of time (it was 8:30 and the restaurant closed at 10:00), we decided to go for it!

 We walk across the street from the hotel and there comes the bus one block away!  This is looking better all the time.  We get on the bus and there are two passengers.  I tell the driver where we are headed and he begins to map our course.  We begin riding and he and one of the other passengers begin to talk to us and ask where we are from.  We say Atlanta and the driver exclaims “I knew I heard a southern drawl.  I grew up in East Point and went to Therrell High School” (both in the metro Atlanta area.).  We immediately connected and he was absolutely awesome to us!  He made sure we knew exactly where we were going and how to navigate getting there AND how to retrace our steps to get back safely.  The passenger also let us know in a very serious tone that we needed to be on our toes at the exchange station where we would change buses.  He told us security has been beefed up there since there were several shootings there over the past several months.  That got our attention!  Our mood changed a bit as darkness fell and we moved further and further away from the hotel.

 It turns 9:00 and we are not at our exchange station yet.  We ask the driver if we will get to our destination by 10:00.  He assures us we will.  People come and go on the bus and it was very eye opening to see the diversity of the people who got on and off the bus; teenagers, senior citizens, mothers with infants in strollers, African American, Hispanic, White, young, old, and us.  It was a very eclectic group to say the least.

 We arrive to the Downing transfer station, receive our final instructions from our new found friend James the bus driver, and depart the bus to stand on the street to wait for the 7.  We knew we would have to wait about 5 to 10 minutes and that’s all it was but I have to admit it seemed longer.  We were certainly out of our element and comfort zone.  It is now about 9:20. 

At 9:30 I call the restaurant and talk to Lauren the second time to let her know of our situation and that we weren’t too far away to make sure they would still serve us if we arrived at 9:58.  She laughed and assured us they would; we were going to hold her to that after all this:)

 About 9:35 the 7 bus arrives and we join a bus full of eclectic humanity once again.  The driver is cordial, but not quite as helpful as James.  It is completely dark by now and our anxiety is rising as we are fighting the clock, pretty unsure about our surroundings, and both of us wondering about the ride back to the hotel, although neither voiced this concern yet. 

9:45.  We get off the 7 at the 17th Avenue stop.  I ask for instructions from the driver and at that point realize he is not from America and didn’t really understand my questions; great!  Which way do we go?  We take off and naturally we begin walking the wrong direction as the address numbers are going down and we need them to go up.  So we turn around and begin walking at a brisk pace due to the time, the temperature (about 50 degrees), and our unease at our surroundings.  Pam suggests that I check the GPS to make sure we are going the right way and I’m thinking she should have suggested that earlier, but I digress.  As we are walking, I inform Pam we are going to take a Taxi back to the hotel.  I went up on the husband scale right about then:)

 9:56.  We finally find D Bar Desserts and walk in to a pretty empty place but desserts are still being made and people are still being served.  We wait at the door and Lauren greets us as if she knew us.  She seats us at the bar so we can see the chef making the desserts and we take a deep breath from the brisk walk, the cool temperatures, and our stress levels being pretty high.  We made it!

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