The last time that I had much to say about the Greyhound Bus Line was back in the summer of 2008 when one passenger, Vince Weiguang Li, killed and cut off the head of his seatmate, a young carnival worker named Tim McLean, late one might while traveling across the Canadian prairie. Shouting passengers got the bus driver to pull over and stop, and everyone rushed off after Mr. Li began waving Mr. McLean's head around for all to see. Li also managed to cannibalize part of his victim while waiting on the Royal Canadian Mounties to show up.
The two men had not known each other prior to that fateful night in July. The perpetrator was later judged to be not guilty by reason of insanity and remains institutionalized as of this date.
A couple of months later one passenger aboard a Greyhound, again in Canada, stabbed and seriously injured another passenger. Since that time, as nearly as I can determine through a search of the Internet, the Greyhound Corporation has had a fairly uneventful ride.
But now comes Alec Baldwin spitting snide snippets of slander at poor Greyhound. Baldwin made national news last week when he went to war with American Airlines after being removed from a Los Angeles to New York flight for failing to follow the directives of a flight attendant and turn off his phone. Baldwin said that even though the airline plays his television show, 30 Rock, on their long flights, he will not fly with them again. (And neither will I - and I don't even own a cell phone. I just resent American's high-handedness and lack of cordiality.)
I also have a modicum sympathy for Mr. Baldwin. We all know there are some people in America for whom rules and laws do not apply - bazillionaires, professional athletes - especially if they are white, members of Congress (Sheila Jackson-Lee, I'm looking at you!), reality television stars, and some lesser celebrities like Alec Baldwin - aka the one-percent. (Just kidding, of course! No one in America gets special treatment!)
While Baldwin was barbecuing American Airlines, however, he stepped over a line - at least that is how the head of Greyhound felt. Baldwin said that the airline's flight attendants "have made flying a Greyhound bus experience."
Greyhound President and CEO David Leach was not amused. He sent an open letter to Baldwin saying he was "disheartened" to hear what the actor had said about his company. He invited Baldwin to join him on a bus ride from New York to Boston in the hope that he might learn more about how modern and comfortable Greyhound has become.
Leach said the company has hundreds of new buses on the road, and they are equipped with leather seats, more legroom, power outlets, and even free Wi-Fi. In his letter to the actor, Leach informed him that Greyhound will never ask a passenger to turn off their electronic devices.
I doubt that Alec Baldwin has ever been on a Greyhound bus, but I have had the privilege on numerous occasions. I usually found my trips by Greyhound to be interesting beyond measure. My fellow passengers were always a true slice of Americana, real people with complex issues which they were eager to share. I learned so much riding the bus! Of course, I did have the good sense to never fall asleep next to a stranger!
Hey Alec, life's too short to suffer the rudeness of bitchy flight attendants. American Airlines can fly empty for all I care. From now on let's you and me take the bus and leave the driving to Greyhound!