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J bus driver is the captain of quotes

J Bus driver David Deming discusses the quotes he posts in his bus during his morning route.
J Bus driver David Deming discusses the quotes he posts in his bus during his morning route.

Chapel Hill Transit bus driver David Deming has been a bus driver for Chapel Hill Transit for around two decades, and has been posting quotes on his bus for 10 years.

“It’s a little bit of work, but it’s fun,” he said. “It creates more of a chance for interactions with the passengers.”

Deming described a story of one of these cases of interacting with a passenger.

“Ten years ago, there was a woman from Greece. She use to get off at a certain spot, and then I noticed that she stopped that and stayed on the bus, while I went out to McDougle Middle School,” he said. “There was a little layover, and (the bus) came back and then she would get off across the street from where she normally did. She really liked the quotes and she was learning English.”

He has countless other stories about passengers who have started conversations.

One is of a former military man who started talking to Deming after he put up a military history quote. The man explained the quote to Deming and even presented Deming with an 8.5-by-11-inch compilation of military quotes that were being circulated by students at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where the man attended.

Deming randomly selects most of his quotes, either from his reading or from websites online, choosing ones he finds funny or witty. He said that many Mark Twain and Woody Allen quotes are some of his favorites.

Avery Cheves, a UNC graduate, who regularly takes the J bus to commute to her job at Lineberger Cancer Center, said she appreciates the gesture.

“At first I thought it was some random person that would put a quote on the bus and just left it there, but then I realized it was the bus driver, and I just think that is kind of sweet,” she said.

Cheves also said that her favorite quote Deming posted was one from Walt Disney: “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.”

Savannah Taylor, a student who posted a picture of the quotes on the Overheard at UNC Facebook page on Sept. 25, said reading them improved her mood.

“I had just finished a long week of exams and when I saw the quotes, it instantly made me a little happier,” she said.

Cheves said bus drivers have a special role.

“This is his job — he is here eight-plus hours a day, and he is trying to personalize and make it special and be nice to the people who are on the bus, and I think it is sweet to put that kind of effort in,” she said.

Deming said he believes the quotes spark conversation.

“Normally people get on and you might say hi or something like that, but it’s rare to have a conversation and doing this quote thing brings up the chances for conversations,” Deming said.

“I’m captain of my own ship here, and I can do something that is different from what other people are doing, and I don’t know, it just feels good.”


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