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The bus driver quandary

A long-haul bus was driving south on the highway when a man on the opposite side of the road caught the bus driver’s attention: he was waving his arms wildly, bleeding from his leg, showing signs of having just escaped a bad car wreck or even a wild animal attack. The driver had only a split second to make a choice. Should he stop to help the man, or keep driving?

Time seemed to freeze as the driver’s eyes glanced behind him at his dozing, chatting passengers, and outside again at the man. The decision criteria rattled through his mind like a flip through an old rolodex:

The day’s route timings would be all off if he stopped. Passengers would miss their scheduled stops. A bleeding, injured man on the bus would turn the whole bus into an impromptu ER. The speed at which he’d need to apply the brakes might jostle passengers. Perhaps another vehicle might stop. How injured was the man? If he didn’t stop, would the man die?

What if the man turned out not to be injured, but simply intoxicated, using poor judgement? What if the passengers grew angry with the driver, or worse, violent? Would the driver lose his job if he made the choice to stop? Would anybody notice if he didn’t stop?

He reviewed the code. It was plain as day. Passengers see it when they board the bus. This bus doesn’t pick up passengers at non-marked stops. All passengers must pay fare before boarding. He’d have to explain why he felt it important to override this obvious rule. If he stops, does he also need to encourage the bus company to revise the code?

Through his rear-view mirror, he saw on his his passenger notice the man outside, then jab a finger at the window in surprise, and glance forward to catch the driver’s eye. The eyes said: are you going to do something?

The driver: ________________________________________________
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