Meaningful conversation with a minion on Muni

Overheard conversations are even better when it’s between two unlikely new friends. Here’s one such moment, reported by Muni rider David Ngo (@design_0_0 on Instagram).

Can’t believe what I witnessed today on the SF muni. A weird but beautiful moment:
“Where are you from?”
“Kuwait”
“I’m Jewish but I grew up with all Muslim friends.”
“I’m Muslim. But what is this?”
“I’m a minion. My name is Stuart.”
“Oh I have seen this film. You can still be Muslim in your heart even if you are born Jewish.”
“Yes I believe we are all the same”
“Thank you. I like the way you think. Goodbye Minion”
“Goodbye. maʿ al-salāmah”

Got other important observations about only-in-SF moments? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com is always open!

Introducing: San Francisco Diaries

For the last 9 years, we’ve been collecting stories from over 4,000 people about life on Muni. We think of Muni as the collective living room of San Francisco, and in this living room, anything can happen. With your help, we’ve documented what it’s like to live in our foggy city for nearly a decade.

Often, Muni Diaries feels like a long love letter to San Francisco: from falling in love with a rider who returns your lost wallet to helping a young man with his tie, we’ve captured some very human moments in our city. Our public transit has been the lens through which we say: this is San Francisco.

Every day, you, our readers and diaries submitters, reenforce how much you care about living here. And we want to know the rest of your story. What else makes San Francisco the city we know and love?

Today we are introducing a new series: San Francisco Diaries. We’re expanding our lens of storytelling, and we want to hear your stories about how San Francisco has shaped you. Whether it’s a story about growing up in San Francisco, making your own mark on the map, or finding the moment when you know you’re really from here — San Francisco Diaries is your place to add your slice of life.

To kick off San Francisco Diaries, we have a special episode of our podcast from storyteller Jesse James. Jesse shares a story about how he unwittingly got a job at the Nob Hill Theater after a very brief interview. For those of you who have passed by the “Touch Our Junk” marquee on Bush, you definitely don’t want to miss this. Listen to the first episode of San Francisco Diaries on iTunes, Google Play, or download the episode.

You can continue to submit your stories about Muni (after all, what’s our city without it?), and stories about San Francisco by emailing us or tagging us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Photo by @yellow_line_art

Voting Open Now: Muni Art to culture up your commute

For the third year, Muni will turn its buses into mobile galleries for local artists—and you get to vote for the art you’ll see on your ride. Voting for the third annual Muni Art contest (organized by the nonprofit San Francisco Beautiful and the SFMTA) opens today and runs through the next month. You can cast your vote here.

The 2018 theme is “The Art of Poetry in San Francisco,” and artists are using local poets to inspire their submission.

We loved the variety of styles by last year’s winning artists, and this year’s art selection also reflects a diversity of style and inspiration, like “Drawn to You” by Meli, above.

Only Bay Area artists were eligible to submit applications for the Muni Art contest. Here are the 10 semi-finalists:

Cha Diaz (San Mateo County)
David Carroll (San Francisco County)
Donavon Brutus (San Francisco County)
Janet Rumsey (San Francisco County)
Lam Giang (Alameda County)
Mara Hernandez (Alameda County)
Matthew O’Brien (San Francisco County)
Meli Burgueno (San Francisco County)
Randi Pace (San Francisco County)
Tsungwei Moo (San Francisco County)

SF Beautiful explains how the contest works:

The five artists with the most votes will each have their art displayed on Muni buses this fall alongside five pre-selected
poems from local, Bay Area poets. The new element of poetry is a contribution from Poetry in Motion, a division of the Poetry
Society of America that places poetry on public transit systems across the country. In addition to having their art displayed on
buses, the artist who receives the most votes will be awarded $2,000 and each of the remaining four will be awarded $1,250.

SF Beautiful tells us that there will be a total of 100 buses displaying the art work. Yay for local art and poetry!

Don’t forget to cast your vote here.

New BART hero identified: It’s Refrigerator Man!

Sometimes, people are the worst, but thank goodness there are also real-life heroes who will stand up against bad behavior. And we see this all the time, particularly on public transit. From rider Mariah Bear on Facebook:

Crowded BART train, I tune in and realize that a woman in hijab a few rows away is asking the guy next to her, basically, to stop manspreading. She’s saying, calmly but with increasing intensity, “Please, that’s my side of the seat. Please let me have my seat.”

 

I’m about to extricate myself from my window seat and offer to swap when she gets up in disgust and goes to stand. A guy gets up to offer her his seat. She starts to say, “Oh no, you don’t have to…,” He just smiles.

 

Dude is built like a refrigerator. She takes his seat and he just *whump* plops down next to, practically in the lap of, Mr. Manspreader.

I give him a thumbs up and a big smile.

A new hero is born! All together now: Refrigerator Man! Refrigerator Man!

Thanks to readers Cynthia P. and Mary M. for the tip.

Seen other everyday heroes who deserve our collective applause? Tag us @munidiaries on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com is always open!

 

What it’s like to be the humans of the SFMTA Twittertron

San Franciscans take their right to complain about Muni very, very seriously. Your colorful commentary runs the gamut between long-form pieces on the state of humanity and a well-timed (or ill-timed, as the case may be) tweet: “Fuck you, Muni!”

We get them all the time at @MuniDiaries, and we feel your pain. But it may soften those sharp edges to know that there are actually three people (not robots!) at the SFMTA whose job is to respond to an often irate public. We tracked down these most-patient humans, got them into our podcast studio, and asked them: What’s it like to be on the receiving end of our ire?

As it turns out, it’s not all terrible. In today’s Muni Diaries podcast, SFMTA’s Schad Dalton and Rick Banchero tell us all about what it’s like to run the @sfmta_muni feed and to respond to your Muni complaints and real-life crisis — everything from violent crimes to a lost scarf.

Sometimes people will tell us we’re incompetent, that we should lose our jobs, that we are a failure, and those are just some of the nicer things. Sometimes it is hard and you feel that they are coming at you. Sometimes people are like, “Hey Muni, F-U!”

But they won’t brush you off:

And you’d to check to see if there was some follow up you might have missed. We do our research: is there more to this thread? And usually it’s somebody who has to vent. A lot of times I’ll message back to see if there is something we can help with.

Listen to the whole interview with SFMTA’s Schad Dalton and Rick Banchero in today’s Muni Diaries podcast:
iTunes
Google Play
Download

You can find Schad, Rick, and their colleagues at @sfmta_muni.

Photo by @stonymcrock

 

Found: The Muni suggestion box is open

The letter box on Muni buses isn’t just for religious flyers. Rider Terry F. recently spotted a hand written note in the box on his bus, and it turned out to be a polite reminder to Muni repair:

To Muni Repair,

There are 6 yellow tiles missing (broken) at the platform at the first stop at Caltrain stop outbound. Keep up the good work with picking up the trash.

 

Miss Lisette S.

In the age of tweeting your Muni complaints, I can really appreciate a letter writer. Thanks, Terry, for passing this along.

Other repair requests to Muni:
Poop-cleaning neighbors still need help
BART riders weigh in on escalator repair date
Lost and found: this Muni driver has your ID

Have you seen other noteworthy letters or missives of any other form? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com is always open!

Are you a podcast fan? Hear our live stories on the new Muni Diaries podcast! Find us on iTunes and Google Play!