About 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 27, we were among a disappointed group of passengers from the cruise ship Serenade of the Seas who, because of the cancellation of a sightseeing tour, decided to take a No. 8 Portland Metro bus in the hope that we would still see something of the city.

As we shuffled on, fumbling with change and without the slightest idea of where we were going, the driver could have been forgiven for being just a tad impatient. On the contrary – he was polite and jovial, and with a big smile, he took the time to give us all the information we needed.

As other passengers got on and off the bus, he showed them the same courtesy and helpfulness. The regulars seemed to know him and were greeted like old friends.

When an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair came aboard the bus, the driver not only secured his chair into position, but also took the opportunity to kneel down beside him and share a chat and a joke. Then, with a reassuring pat on the shoulder, he was back behind the wheel.

His happiness was infectious, turning the routine bus ride into something more like a neighborhood outing, people exchanging smiles and light conversation. At the end of the trip we agreed we were lucky that our original tour had been canceled, as we had just had the most wonderful time on the No. 8 bus.

I don’t know the driver’s name, but what an ambassador for Metro buses, and for your city. As a tourism professional from New Zealand, it’s part of my function to evaluate tourist experiences – and I have to say this is one of the best authentic experiences ever. A big thank you!

Lilian Clare

New Plymouth, New Zealand