Put a lid on it: Urban still-life on Muni

blue chairs Tostitos lid, missing jar

Tostitos apparently trademarked “Get Together Already” (a discussion for a different day, an imperative one Muni rider took to heart. One passenger on a 9-San Bruno was so keen on bringing the party, they left this lid and assorted snack detritus behind. Yes, it’s rude and messy, but this decidedly urban still-life gave me pause and I didn’t hate it.

In some Sliding Doors parallel universe, the lid meets the bowl of milk on Muni (seriously), the discarded durian, and the party is brought for real.

Have an important dispatch for your fellow riders? Muni Diaries only exists because of your stories and submissions, so tag us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter with your finds or observations. Our email inbox (muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com) is always open, too.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T meets B-A-R-T after Aretha Franklin’s final concert in OAK


Gwen Carmen is a cancer survivor and longtime teacher in the San Francisco Unified School District—but some of her best stories come straight off our own local transit. In this episode, Gwen tells a story about taking BART to see one of Aretha Franklin’s final performances at the Oakland Coliseum. On her journey home from the concert with a group of fellow riders, Gwen finds herself in the middle of a crime scene that brings the journey to a halt—but not the end.

You might remember Gwen from the live shows or from Episode 62 of this podcast, in which she told a story about serving sweet, sweet justice to a bus creeper while riding the 24.

Listen to her story:

Want more Muni Diaries podcast goodness? We’re having our first podcast event at the Betabrand Podcast Theater this Thursday, March 7, at 7 p.m.! Tickets on sale now.

Photo by @rj3

NSFW: “Good vibes” found at Muni stop

Every day is a new opportunity to find something left on Muni that’s truly weird, possibly gross, and definitely appealing to our inner 13-year-old humor. There’s that bowl of milk that someone abandoned on the bus, then there’s the friendly leopard left waiting at the Muni stop. Today’s find is of an intimate sort. On Twitter, rider Kiley (@kilodeer) hipped the SFMTA to this item left at the bus stop:

Hey @sfmta_muni@SF311, you might want to come collect the wiggling dildo someone left at Filmore and Jackson, outbound on the 22-Filmore. (Stop 14623) This is the most San Francisco thing ever. Also, I’m sorry. @munidiaries

Kiley tells the SFMTA that they should be glad she only posted a photo of this dildo and not the video. Well, here at Muni Diaries headquarters, we are not one to let opportunities pass us by! Kiley kindly sent us the actual video of said wiggling dildo. Behold and also NSFW and whatnot:

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What happens when you skip school and take Muni as your escape vehicle

When you’re a kid skipping school, your parents are probably the last people that you’d want to run into. For one San Francisco kid, luck was not on her side. Storyteller Meaghan Mitchell is a native San Franciscan and news editor at Hoodline, which you can imagine gives her tons of local cred. In this week’s podcast episode, Meaghan shares a story of one really hard day at school and how it brought her to a familiar face on Muni.

Listen to her story:

As an essential part of living here, Muni is so often the backdrop of childhood memories for native San Franciscans, like this story from Yayne Abeba, whose mother often gave her and her siblings money to ride Muni as a way to get them out of the house.

If you liked the stories you’ve heard on our podcast, come see us live on March 7 at the Betabrand Podcast Theater! We will be bringing the podcasts live to you for the first time with a studio audience! Tickets are only $5 and on sale now.

An anonymous letter about the no good very bad year (and A+ Muni story)

You might remember storyteller Nuala Sawyer, News Editor at SF Weekly and haver of what most of us would agree was a pretty shit year back in 2013. She told the story on stage at Muni Diaries Live in November 2018, and it gave us not-so-surprise tears again when we added it to our podcast lineup recently.

The podcast episode ended up having an impact on an anonymous podcast listener, too. That person sent Nuala this handwritten letter to SF Weekly and, just when you think you’re out of Muni-related surprise tears…

“Thank you for telling it. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for placing yourself in a vulnerable position with the man and with the audience of Muni Diaries. As you impressively seem to know, honesty and vulnerability change [sic] people—us as well as those around us,” the listener wrote. We couldn’t agree more, Listener. Thanks, Nuala, for sharing—in more ways than one.

If you missed her story on the podcast, you can listen to Nuala’s podcast episode here.

Top photo by Right Angle Images; letter image courtesy Nuala Sawyer

Cookies, kudos for great drivers of the 8-Bayshore

Muni rider Azucena wants to send a shout out to what she calls “two great and respectful Muni drivers” on the 8. We are always down for some driver thanks. The submission has been edited lightly for clarity.

One day picking up my daughter from school, I saw she had a small bag of fruits and cookies she was trying to give them away. I told her we should always appreciate bus drivers who take you where you have to go. So she gave the bag to one of the drivers, who appreciated the gesture and thanked her. The next day, she did the same for a second driver. She felt so happy to be able to give something rather than have it go to waste.

Ever since then, my daughter has known how to share her appreciation for people who take her where she has to go. She is only about four years old.

Walter is one of the drivers, who we see when we catch the bus at Silver and San Bruno going inbound. William, the second driver, we catch sometimes at Bayshore and Leland or Munich and Geneva. I will always say that the Lord is with them wherever they go.

Though Muni is having a tough time in recent years, thanks to these drivers for their effort at providing great service. We’ve certainly heard of many wonderful drivers like this friendly operator who doled out funny life advice, someone who surprised a rider with fresh cherries, and another who played some Jedi mind tricks on a commuter on a day when some humor was needed.

If you have a story about your favorite driver, we want to know! Submit your own diary at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

Photo by Robert J. Pierce on Flickr

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