By Dr. Anton Anderssen
On the Honolulu bus system known as TheBus, there is a frequent announcement one hears – the recording states “If you see something, say something.” For the past 29 years, I have seen something that is vile, disgraceful and discriminatory – lying to the public about bus destinations.
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As a cultural anthropologist, I often hear how the Hawaiian tourism culture is the perfect niche for sociopathic liars. One can cheat, scam, degrade or lie to a tourist this week, and next week the tourist will be gone back to the mainland or back to Japan, so there is rarely any consequence for disrespecting them. A person with integrity never behaves in a way to intentionally hurt others, but I have seen the same tricks used by bus drivers for decades.
A few weeks ago, I went on a wonderful whale watching cruise on the Star of Honolulu. I’ve taken dozens of these cruises, because the company treats passengers amazingly well. After I disembarked, I went to the bus stop at the Falls of Clyde, as did many people who were on the ship. When the bus arrived, I entered and took my place. This stop requires a change of routes at Ala Moana Center to reach Waikiki hotels. One of the last people to enter the bus asked the driver, “Does this bus go to Waikiki?” The driver gave an authoritative “No!” and shut the door in their face without any further explanation. He took off and left the people standing there, in his dust. He could have said, “No bus goes to Waikiki from this stop, you must change at Ala Moana.” I wonder how many hours these victims waited before they got back to Waikiki.
Yelp and TripAdvisor have numerous testimonies regarding bus drivers’ lacking integrity.
This week, I got on route 42 near the zoo, to go to Ala Moana Center. Of course, 19, 20 and 42 go to Ala Moana, but for decades the bus drivers have told passengers they cannot get to Ala Moana using those routes. It is a lie. I witnessed many people ask my driver if his bus goes to Ala Moana and he repeatedly told them they needed bus 8. There was plenty of room on our bus, so there was no reason to turn them away. Before becoming savvy to this immoral response from bus drivers on routes passing through Waikiki, I fell for their sociopathic lies.
Two passengers got on 42 and the driver asked them where they were headed. The riders said they wanted to go to Ewa, and the driver got into an argument with the riders, because he wanted them to take route E. They knew 42 would take them to Ewa. There was a pattern going on – the driver was doing this to people based on the riders’ race.
The final straw came when two old people, probably around 75 or 80, were standing in the rain, across from the Hale Koa military hotel, wanting to get on route 42. My first thought was, “This old man is a veteran, I hope the driver does not disrespect them.” Yes, there is a definite difference between how a military man walks and a posture he takes. The old folks asked the driver “Do you go to Ala Moana Center?” He turned them away and said “Bus 8.” He shut the door and took off.
What kind of depraved human forces 75 or 80-year-olds to stand in the rain because he doesn’t want to allow them to ride to Ala Moana Center on his bus, when he knows it is one of his stops? I took his photo. This is the face of immorality.