Update: Return of a Favorite Muni Driver

One of our favorite Muni drivers has returned to the wheel, rider Jonathan reports. We first met Tammy in 2010 when she threw an amazing surprise party on the 33-Stanyan.

Last year Tammy was suddenly absent from our commute, and she emailed to tell us about a tragedy that had happened to her family: the death of Tammy’s son in a car accident. The outpouring of your kind comments was amazing. (see Tammy’s story)

Jonathan wrote us with an update:

Tammy is driving again, though she has no set route as of yet. She was behind the wheel of the 24-Divisadero this morning, with a warm smile that Muni should bottle and give to all its employees. I vote for assigning Tammy to the 24 line. But I’m sure 33 riders would beg to differ. Her support group for families of drunk-driving victims, HeavenlyBoundAngels.org, carries a hopeful message — “From Pain to Purpose” — which is just what you’d expect from someone with such a big heart.

Thanks, Jonathan, for the update on Tammy, who brings a smile to so many of her passengers!

Photo Diary: Serious Face

Instagram photographer karolinecollins saw this serious man on the bus the other day and found something really unexpected.

Inbound 24 Divisadero. This man had a fantastic smile, but I only saw it when the bus window flapped open and banged shut as we were chugging up Cortland. It startled me and we both laughed. Of course, I had already put my phone away. Bummed I missed a more relaxed shot of him. Public transpo = Never a dull moment! SF, CA

Yup, we can attest to the “never a dull moment” aspect of public transit.

Who else did you spy on your bus today? We wanna know.

Why You Haven’t Seen Muni Driver Tammy

Readers of Muni Diaries might remember a Muni driver named Tammy, who warmed all of our hearts when she threw a surprise party for her passengers on the 33-Stanyan last May. If you’re a regular rider of Tammy’s new line, the 24-Divisadero, you’ve probably also noticed that Tammy has been absent for quite some time.

A few months ago we got an email from Tammy, who told us why we haven’t seen her smiling face on Muni for so many months. In November 2010, Tammy’s 19-year-old son, Deante Fuller, was killed in a car accident near Antioch. Deante’s friend, Steavean Taylor, was arrested and charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run causing death, Paul Burgarino of the Contra Costa Times reported last year. Taylor had left Fuller trapped and dying in the car when they crashed into a tree, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Tammy has been on leave ever since the accident — she said that she did not want to put her passengers in danger while she coped with the trauma of her son’s death. We met with Tammy this month to talk more about her life since her son’s death.

At our meeting, Tammy brought framed photos of Deante, his girlfriend, and their baby daughter Myonie to show me. She and Deante were particularly close because he had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and struggled in school, she told me. The day before his death, Deante helped a woman whose husband had threatened to dump her off the Antioch Bridge, Tammy said. Deante was driving and saw a woman running along the freeway. The woman told him that her husband had been threatening her and Deante drove her to the police station, Tammy said.

Tammy has been working on forming a support group in the Antioch area for parents who have lost their children to violence, she said. She’s made hundreds of fliers with pictures of Deante and her address and phone number, encouraging parents to contact her if they need someone to talk to. Other Muni drivers have been extremely supportive of her family, she said, and many of them were at Deante’s memorial service. She is also working on writing a book and creating a not-for-profit organization called Heavenly Bound Angels in Deante’s memory.

(Tammy and other parents were interviewed in this Contra Costa Times story about mothers of slain children.)

When we first learned about Tammy last year, we knew that she was someone who made living in San Francisco extraordinary. Hands down, running Muni Diaries is a worthwhile experience if only for stories like Greg’s:

I hop on the first bus, frustrated that yet again it would have been faster to drive. The bus driver apologizes, saying the two buses that were supposed to be in front of hers aren’t running today. Then she offers me my choice of wrapped candy from a dish by the fare machine and for the first time I actually look around at bus 2442 driven by Tammy.

It’s like a Fourth of July party inside Tammy’s bus. There are red white and blue streamers, balloons, coils that say “happy,” banners and party lanterns hanging from the railings. Large handwritten posters adorn the windows thanking her riders and spouting truths such as “Until Muni realizes that without our passengers there’s no Muni!” and pretty much everyone has a smile on their face.

Tammy told us that she is working on a website for her support group, but needs someone with more tech experience to set up a basic site. If you want to get in touch with Tammy, you can contact her here.

Caption This Muni Cartoon

What’s happening in this Muni cartoon?

Michael Capozzola, who draws “Surveillance Caricatures” in the San Francisco Chronicle’s 96 Hours section, contributed two cartoons for gallery-goers to caption at the I Live Here: SF exhibit at SOMArts last month. Lots of you joined in on the fun and posted your own caption. Like this one, from someone who called himself “BOSS”:

“WAIT!!! My wife will kill me if I forget the baby on the bus again!!!”

Or, from an anonymous gallery goer:

“Hey wait! The next bus isn’t coming for 78 minutes!”

If you missed the chance to caption this carton in person last month, here’s your chance. Caption this Muni cartoon in the comments section: what’s happening on the 24-Divisadero here?

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