Just Where is Steve??
Jan. 14, 2012 4:43 am
Updated: Jan. 26, 2012 1:18 am
About a month ago Steve graduated from college earning a degree in Criminal Justice. He's my adventurous kid - he likes to have fun. I think he has had all the "fun" he can take these past couple days. For some background: I have a sister and brother-in-law
in South Dakota (we live in Ohio) and Steve loves it out there. It's been his dream to move out there and live in the "wild west". Several weeks ago my dear sister called Steve and informed him an opening had been posted with their police department. He
was on his computer and applying almost before he said goodbye to his aunt. A day later he receives an e-mail he was qualified to take their test, etc., etc. So, plans started being made for him to go visit Aunt Debbie and Uncle Brian.
Airline tickets were outrageous! We have no idea how long this process could take before he either is offered a job or told to go home so a round-trip ticket was going to be too difficult to purchase. He was going to just drive but I didn't want him driving,
alone, all that way in the winter. Weather can be too unpredictable. Oh, you have no idea how unpredictable the weather can be! Then, the bright idea - Go Greyhound! A one-way bus ticket is cheap! Ha! Let me just say that I don't think anyone in my family
will be going Greyhound anytime soon - except for Steve. He still has to get to South Dakota.... Though I promise you he will not return to Ohio via bus.
Hubby and I take the day off work to take Steve to the bus station. Scheduled time to leave: 12:25 pm. Instructions are to arrive one hour prior to boarding. At 12:40 he's starting to get antsy - he is supposed to go from Akron to Chicago and switch busses
there. If he's late getting started, what happens to the transfer?? Finally at 12:48 a bus pulls in and they announce it's time to leave, but there's been a slight change in schedule - they're going to head to Columbus first and switch busses from there
to get to Chicago. We should have grabbed Steve by the coat collar right then and there and just started driving ourselves... Or, like he said - he could have started walking and been there by now.
Steve's adventure has now begun.....
All Thursday afternoon and into the evening we receive witty text messages about various stops and passengers getting on the bus - Steve is on an adventure. One of the last things that both his Grandpa and his mom (me) told him was "Don't become friends with
people and tell them your whole life story - they're strangers and need to stay that way". By late evening we start getting the texts saying that they were running really late and he'd never catch that bus in Chicago. Then he gets to Chicago and all busses
are delayed/cancelled. Nobody could seem to tell him how long of a wait it would be or what he should do. When we got the text at 2:00 am from him that said now they knew they'd be going nowhere until at least 6:30 am because of the horrible weather I couldn't
help it - I burst out crying. My baby was alone in a strange place (strange in more ways than just unfamiliar) at 2 am! By this time it was too late to try and make arrangements to find a place to sleep - so a night spent at a Chicago bus station it was.
I would have been terrified. Heck, I was terrified and I was home in my own house. To Steve it was still an adventure. Finally at 8:30 am on Friday he is boarding a bus and continuing on this journey. Original arrival time was 5:30 pm Friday. Ha! Greyhounds
can't tell time.
All day Friday we get more witty, humorous Steve-Style text messages. Even when he gets to Minneapolis and gets stuck at that station for hours on end. That's when we got the message "Sorry - I'm talking to people and making friends now!" Then we get the
message - "hmmm... hope I got on the right bus - we're headed to North Dakota." He arrived in Fargo, ND late last night. By now he's made friends with some guys from a gas company and they're ordering pizza to be delivered to the station. At least I think
that's what they were doing. The texts have become sort of vague. That doesn't worry me - that's also typical Steve-Style. He said the station only has vending machines filled with candy bars and chips and cokes to drink. Steve doesn't eat or drink any
of that stuff. Not if he can help it. He wanted to go across the street to a bar for a burger and a beer but they were told they couldn't leave the station. If they did and they had a drink they would not be allowed to board the bus. Zero tolerance for alcohol.
If he had known then what he knows now - he could have gone out to that bar and had a dozen drinks and sobered up long before it was time to board the bus!! Heck, if we had known then what we know now - I would have come up with the additional several hundred
dollars a plane ticket would have cost and he would have been sitting with my sister and brother-in-law having a beer by their fire playing with their 2 new puppies! Hindsight is always 20/20. But - that was not the way it was. It still seemed like an adventure.
Sort of. Then he found out he'd be spending the night in Fargo, ND. I got the text "This is not an adventure anymore!".
As I'm sitting here writing this my phone goes off, alerting me to a text message. It's Steve. It is 6:20 am and he's been told the bus will leave at 8:00 am. He also says the roads look way worse than they did in Chicago. Let's hope these bus drivers in
Fargo drive in inclement weather. As of right now he should be arriving in Rapid City 24 hours later than scheduled. At least his test is not until Monday morning.
I'm going to admit I've spent the past 36 hours or so with a knot in my stomach and my nerves rattled. Not that I'm worried about Steve. Steve isn't the type you need to worry about, but in this instance I can't help it. This is the first time in my life I
felt totally out of control of a situation. I didn't sleep Thursday night. The thought of my son alone, in Chicago, in a bus station of all places was too much for me. We're "country folks". We don't even have a traffic light in our township! Last night,
though, I did manage to sleep. I knew he was in Fargo, ND. I've never been there, but it sounds to me like it would be a safer place than Chicago. Don't tell me differently, please.
In closing I have to say that this will be a journey he'll never forget. When the interviewer asks him why he thinks he's the one for this position, he needs to tell them what all he went through to get there. I think it's obvious he really wants this job!
After this fiasco I have to say I will not be recommending bus travel to anyone, regardless of the value. Though, it's true - Steve has certainly gotten to see a lot of the country on that $180!!