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.
Every transit system starts with a dream, and over there in Reddit-land, the catalyst for the dream was the Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme. Reader Kini S. sent over this tip: A super fan of the fast food chain created a Taco Bell transit map on Reddit to visualize what it’d be like if we had a transit system that connected all the Taco Bell locations in the Bay Area.
This map includes the Most Beautiful Taco Bell location in the country in Pacifica just off of the Linda Mar stop, where rumor has it that you can get a beer or a slushy fortified with booze along with your Taco Bell Chalupa or Gordita. Reddit commenters noted the lack of Taco Bell locations in poor, poor Marin, with only three locations before you get up to Petaluma. Though, as one commenter says, just seeing BART up in the North Bay is indeed enough to bring tears to your eyes.
We’ve all had those “anywhere but here” moments of fantasy on Muni. But artist Kevin Lewis took his commute one giant leap beyond merely a daydream. He recently finished illustrating and writing a sci-fi graphic novel/adult picture book (tentatively titled “BARTians”), featuring 70 drawings of his fellow Muni and BART passengers. Instead of portraying them staring at their phones, Kevin transformed these passengers into doing so much more, literally above and beyond planet San Francisco.
You’d think she was riding BART, but through Kevin’s creative eyes, this young lady is actually on her way to a coronation to continue (or upend) her mother’s legacy.
This tale about relationshipping in your Roaring 20s hits home for all of us who wished we could find love—or that it would find us, as promised in the RomComs—but kept looking for it in all the wrong places.
Oakland native Alexandria Love is on the podcast today with her personal, cringe-worthy story from that time in her life, which comes with a bonus transit twist. When she’s not prompting us to marvel in half awe, half horror over our early-20s life choices, Alex is also a stand-up comedian, podcaster, and writer. She’s performed at some of the best venues in California, including Tommy T’s, The San Jose Improv, and Cobb’s Comedy Club. She is the current reigning champion of Tourettes Without Regrets’ Dirty Haiku battle with 5 victories under her belt. She was the sleeper hit at the Muni Haiku Battle at Lit Crawl in 2017, which led her to snatch top honors during a reprise performance at Muni Diaries Live.
Got your own very-SF strange and wonderful ritual, with or without Bay Area transit twists? San Francisco Diaries is looking for your personal stories about what it means to live here, and what makes our city “so San Francisco.” Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox is always open.
What would you do if you saw someone passed out on BART and you’re not really sure what’s going on? This happened to rider Ginger M., who saw a young man on BART who was not in such good shape. As she considered the possibilities, she saw another passenger approach the man with such compassion and kindness that really made an impression on her.
Here’s Ginger’s story:
While riding on BART in the afternoon to work there was a person so passed out that they were hanging over the end of the seat. There was much blond hair hanging down and food strewn around.
1st thought: Junkie?
2nd thought: Are they dead?
3rd thought: Are they okay; is this a person who has been drugged and assaulted?
4th thought: Should I tell someone?
5th and full thought through this entire thing: Should I do something?
While I was asking myself all sorts of questions, a black man who was sitting behind me moved up to sit behind this person, whom other people had moved away from. He sat for a moment and then spoke to the passed out person who turned out to be a young man in velvet pants.
They talked. Talked in good ways.
We all got off at the same stop together and I watched that wonderful man walk with him to get him to a good place.
I will never forget that act today. One of courage. And one of great compassion. To that man today, I honor you.
A good lesson of compassion on public transit or anywhere. Thanks, Ginger! Got other important news for your fellow riders? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox (firstname.lastname@example.org) is always open!