The Wheelchair Cowboy

muni stop san francisco
Photo by Lynn Friedman

Editor’s Note: Ricardo M was a Muni driver from 1981-1988. Originally trained on the LRVs, he spent six months at the Metro Division operating the K, L, M, N Lines. In the seven years that he worked as a Muni driver, he’s driven just about all the trolley buses spanning from the 41, 21, 6, and on. “But, mostly, I drove the 14 Mission line because then I could speak Spanish while I drove all day, from Embarcadero to Daly city and then back again.”

Ricardo sends us this story, which he says is one of his favorite experiences as a Muni driver.

I had just left the Embarcadero terminal, heading south on Mission Street. I already had about 15 people on my bus. When I arrived at the Mission and 2nd Street zone, there were about six people waiting for me, including a man in a wheelchair.

As soon as I pulled my trolley bus into the passenger zone, the man in the wheelchair rolled himself right up against one of the open doors of the bus, reached out with his right hand, and grabbed onto one of the door’s side handles. He looked up at me as if to say something, but the people behind him had already started going around him, stepping out in front of him and going up the stairwell.

Finally, only the man in the wheelchair remained on the sidewalk. His wheelchair was of the regular folding type (no motor), with thick leather bags attached to the armrests. He looked like a bronco-riding cowboy in his large ivory straw hat, a Western shirt, boots, and a silver buckle on his leather belt.
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