Baltimore bus driverMental note to self: in addition to pregnant women, strippers, drag queens and homeless people, put bus drivers on the list of folks I will never, ever break tough or talk sassy to. They’re snapping out all over the country, kicking tail and poo-pooing the consequences because they have to know, just like the rest of us, that in the age of the handy dandy camera phone, everybody and their granddaddy has become an on-the-ground reporter. So when they act out like they’ve been doing so frequently, they will inadvertently go down in YouTube infamy.

The latest installment of public transportation workers gone wild comes courtesy of the MTA system in Baltimore, where a stocky, middle-aged driver physically fought and gave the business to a young girl on board, allegedly for refusing to turn her music down. In the more than minute long clip, they go. at. it. Warning: If you don’t like fights, don’t watch. It’s kinda rough. 



“It’s about respect,” the uniformed victor explained to another passenger, who ostensibly asked her why she whooped on that child like she stole something.

Indeed, it is about respect. I don’t condone grown women snapping out and beating the living bejesus out of anybody, much less citizens on the bus, no matter how old they are. I was outraged when Shi’dea Lane was on the receiving end of the upper cut heard around the internet and I was flabbergasted watching this girl get tossed around by a lady apparently old enough to be her mama. I am vehemently opposed to violence against women, no matter who the aggressor is (though the Lane incident also exposed a disappointing fraternity of people—both male and female, including a surprising number of Stir readers—who defended Artis Hughes’ notorious punch).

But the victims in both cases had something in common: they let nasty attitudes and bad behavior get them tangled up with individuals who preferred to respond with their hands.   

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there is an epidemic of disrespectful behavior running wild and unchecked among our young people. Is it peer pressure? Is it lack of home training? Is it just not giving a hot damn? It may be one of them, it may be a combination of all of the above. But our kids are bumping up against folks who are clearly tired of tolerating it. I’m not defending this bus driver’s decision to go all WWE and start handing out beatdowns. At the root, she was at work and what a little slice of anarchy we would be living in if we all just started mollywhopping folks who plucked our last crucial nerve on the job. Lord knows I would’ve been the star of somebody’s YouTube video somewhere along the line.

Aside from that, though, I’ve seen the shift in the way young adults, teenagers, and kids talk to their elders, buck the rules passed down by authorities, and treat each other. Look at the students who felt it well within their right to physically harass their substitute teacher last week. Look at how many kids are being bullied venomously, mercilessly. Look at the root cause of these big public flare-ups, which boils down to lack of respect.

If this were my daughter, I'd be mad 1) at the obvious aggressor but also 2) at her for acting like she wasn't raised to act better. At the risk of sounding like an old fogie—and I’m not even that old—our kids need a refresher on how to treat and talk to other people. It’s either that or run the risk of being on the wrong end of somebody else’s fed-up fist. 

Was this bus driver out of line or did she teach this girl a hard-learned lesson?