A tribute to a fallen transit hero

We met Courtney Brousseau at Muni Diaries Live last year, and he was so immediately warm and full of joy that I thought we must have met him somewhere before. He walked right up to us to introduce himself, and it was clear he loved the city so much and wanted to make it better for bus riders.

On Friday, Courtney was shot in the Mission, a bystander caught in what The San Francisco Chronicle says were 50-60 bullets that were fired on that block. This was just minutes after he tweeted that he was enjoying a burrito in Dolores Park and that “for a brief moment everything felt okay.” He died Monday night. He was 22.

We can’t stop thinking about the evening when we first met Courtney. He was wearing a jacket full of transit buttons and had just hosted an afternoon transit pub crawl with Chris Arvin (one of our storytellers that night), which terminated at the show.

As I talked to Courtney that night, I thought, “There should be more people like him.” Meeting Courtney gave me a new sense of hope that new, young people in the city still like what we’re doing—after all, we’ve been documenting transit culture for more than a decade at this point.

Courtney was a passionate transit advocate, hosting Gay for Transit, which he described as “a monthly SF meetup for queer folks who love public transit,” tweeting about BART’s new fleet and more. Every week, his transit-loving tweets would make our day as we comb the Twitter universe for insightful and incisive tweets about the Muni experience. He embodied everything we hope transit culture could be.

On Twitter, there are a flood of tributes to him. Here are just a few of the tweets honoring how he’s impacted those around him.

From fans and friends of his transit crawl:

His advocacy work was well-known to BART and SFTMA head Jeffrey Tumlin:

I can’t agree with Jeffrey Tumlin more that Courtney was the 22-year-old I wish I had been. And maybe the 32-year-old I wish I had been, too. One of his friends, a former activist, said that her favorite memory was Courtney asking her for advice: “How do I decide what hills NOT to die on?

Courtney’s friends found a few ways to continue his ideas, here are two:

There aren’t enough words to express how Courtney’s friends and family have been impacted by this loss. We’re grateful to have met him, and we’ll be here to keep telling stories about transit and hoping we’ll meet more like him.

Photo by @HeatherGrey_

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