GringoPost | Cuenca, Ecuador: Applied for IESS at 11 AM; had bus "accident" at 1:30 PM

Logo HTML1

.
.

Search HTML3

Applied for IESS at 11 AM; had bus "accident" at 1:30 PM

Process couldn't be easier. We asked receptionist for an English-speaking clerk and were given a number. Two minutes later we were called up. Forms completed, payment process explained and we were out the door in under 10 minutes. I bought our friend lunch as a thank you, we bought flowers nearby and went our separate ways.

I hoofed it over to Pio Bravo to catch a #16 bus home. Mr. Driver was having a bad day, I guess. The lady in front of me, with her 5-ish son asked the driver to slow or stop so that she and her boy could get seated safely. He angrily claimed the bus was full. I saw plenty of seats. I swiped my bus card and the driver gunned the engine, launching me through the still-open door. I hit the street hard on my side. The young boy saw me hit the pavement and for a few moments I didn't move. Poor kid was hysterical, “Mommy, Mommy that man is dead!” Mom demanded that the driver stop. Within a minute or two, she is telling an officer what happened. Passers-by helped me out of the street onto the curb, checked me for orientation, returned the items that had fallen from my pockets and even brought me water to drink. Ambulance came very shortly, I was examined, cleaned up a bit (I was bleeding) and transported to a small hospital. EMTs were friendly and efficient. The same can be said for the hospital staff. Lots of scrapes, bruises, broken teeth and cracked ribs. My mouth was stitched together (my teeth got pushed completely though my lower.lip. I could whistle in harmony through the new hole!)

I was discharged with some meds and a return date for the stitches to come out. In the hospital parking lot, I was waiting with a patrolman for a cruiser to transport me downtown for my statement. To my surprise and relief, the young mom pulled in, driven by her hubby. She was checking my condition and volunteered to ride with me and the po-po to town. When we arrived, the "driver" was there along with his supervisor and the bus company's general manager.

On the drive in, the officers explained that I could ask for a cash settlement. I wasn't really interested in that until I asked if the "driver" will get a ticket. “Oh yes!” So how much is the fine? "$35." $35?!?!?" That's barely dinner and drink money for two. We negotiated an amount that was lower than I wanted, but enough so it will “put a hurtin'” on him. The supervisor kept trying to get me to lower the amount, saying “I can see you are a good man...” Not today, sonny. The driver showed no signs and made no expressions of remorse. Maybe next time he'll be a bit more thoughtful, assuming he'll still be driving a city bus.

I apologize for this somewhat lengthy post, but I want to express my deepest thanks to a lot of caring people I met during my ordeal: concerned strangers on the street, the EMTs and hospital workers, the very professional, courteous and helpful police and most especially to Sandra Bravo, the dear young mother who would not let the matter drop until the "driver" was called to account for his callous disregard for passenger safety. She even rode with me afterward when the police drove me home.

I am going to be on the mend for a while, but I am cheered by all the wonderful Cuencanos/Cuencanas I met.

Oh, and IESS pays for medical costs due to accidents from day one. Suh-weet.

Austin W Troxell: awtroxell(at)aol.com

City: Cuenca