The NewVa Corridor Technology Council (NCTC), held its Fall Gala in Roanoke, Virginia and arranged for its members living in Blacksburg, Virginia to ride the Smart Way Bus to the festivities at the Hotel Roanoke. The Smart Way Bus is a commuter bus service linking the Roanoke Valley and the New River Valleys of Virginia.
We met at the Smart Way Bus stop at the K-Mart in Christiansburg in gala attire.
Photo credit: Eddie Montgomery
I've ridden dozens of tour buses and took the Greyhound to visit my grandmother when I was a child, but hadn't been on public transportation in years. I knew enough not to miss the bus and that it wouldn't wait for me, so I arrived early and had a lovely conversation with regular Smart Way Bus rider Eddie Montgomery about hardware, software, and, as strangers often do, life.
I learned that the Smart Way Bus only accepts correct change so gave over my $20 bill for the $4 fare with acceptance. I have learned many things much more expensively.
With so many cars on the road, I expected our party of 15 to have the Smart Way Bus to ourselves, but it was nearly full! A man made room for me in his aisle and I had my next excellent conversation with Ken in Information Technology at Virginia Tech. He has ridden the Smart Way Bus since 2004 and noted that the bus we were on, #901, was new.
Just before we left for Roanoke, the driver handed me change he had pieced together from other passengers' fares.
When our group disembarked at the Hotel Roanoke, I was almost at the entrance when I realized I had left the antique shawl my mother had given me on the bus.
In the calmest of voices with the exact leadership and direction needed to take mission critical action in a matter of moments, Mary Miller, President of the NCTC, asked probably three questions which I can't remember now, but before I had time to worry, I was using my Droid X to Google Valley Metro and was on the phone to the dispatcher saying, thanks to Ken, "I left my shawl on bus #901."
"You must run," the dispatcher said.
In gala attire and heels, I ran.
The Smart Way Bus route reverses one stop away from the Hotel Roanoke.
"He will turn. He will be there in one minute," the dispatcher said.
"I see him, I see him, thank you!" I hung up and ran towards the #901 Smart Way Bus.
The bus doors opened and there was the driver waving my mother's shawl like a flag.
Freshening up at the Hotel Roanoke, shawl in hand, I called the dispatcher back to thank him and he laughed and said he was from Jamaica and that so many people had helped him when he arrived that he was glad to give back and "spread the love."
Thank you, Smart Way Bus. I felt the love.
Mary Miller, President of the NCTC, is the founder of IDD, Inc., a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated.