Valentines Week in 2005, my fiance (Patrick) traveled from Buffalo NY to Dallas TX to visit me. He specifically requested that his luggage be kept under his wheelchair during the trip. They refused his request, tagged his luggage as "special handling" and took it from him, despite his protests (they had mis-filed his luggage before!).
The luggage never made it to the first stop. Greyhound officials assured Patrick that it was placed on the next bus and would make it just after his arrival. They lied.
When Patrick made it to Dallas, his luggage was gone (2 pieces). We filed a trace. Nothing. All he had for his week's visit was what he had on his person. We had our special Valentines Dinner with him in just his traveling duds.
After the week passed, we had to spend several dozen dollars to replace what he needed. All he owned were in those bags. After about 2 months or so, Patrick got a call from Rodgers State University in Oklahoma. They inquired about a checkbook of Patricks, if it was missing. Yes, it was amoung the stolen articles. The kid who had it did a minor traffic violation at the campus and had been pulled over and a sharp officer noticed the checkbook sitting on the front seat, and that it did not match the name to the driver. Because the checkbook had not been reported as stolen, the kid was released. He fled thereafter (had been visiting a girlfriend).
Apparently, he lived in Austin or San Antonio (forgot which) and had traveled by Greyhound to visit his current girlfriend. He had a layover at OKC, and had noticed Patrick's luggage moving about on the conveyor belt, with no one tending to it. He saw his opportunity and took the luggage.
He did try one of Patrick's checks, and it was recovered, but over $600 worth of new clothes & new luggage were gone. We submitted all documents of what was in the luggage, costs from receipts (almost all new articles), the police report, conversations with various parties, but Greyhound turned a deaf ear and would not recover Patrick's full loss. They did their standard "oh well, so sorry, here's $250" check & closed the incident.
Patrick is 100% disabled, on tightly fixed income, and did strongly request that his luggage (which was small & compact) to lay underneath his chair, which would not have been a safety issue. Greyhound is brutally unfair to the helpless, elderly, and the poor. Go to any of their bus terminals, and you will see very poor, crippled, people who have had a very hard life. The staff at Greyhound have become desensatized and uncaring due to many factors, but I don't think it's due to their customer, but it flows down from the upper management.
Patrick has finally moved to Texas to be by me (smart choice), and he decided to risk using Greyhound again. He was going from Dallas to Houston for a Baseball game. This time, he took one piece of luggage, a carry-on with him and held it tight. No, Greyhound didn't loose THIS luggage.
This time, they informed him that there was no wheelchair lift available on the bus for his trip back to Dallas. They told him that he would be stuck for two more days in Houston because the employee at Greyhound who took his info for the trip back failed to secure the right bus. Even though they dropped the ball, they did the "pass the buck" verbage and said that they could not help it if one of their staff messed up. They were going to make Patrick pay the price!
Phone call after phone call, hour after hour, calls to staff members & supervisors failed over again and again. I never felt so helpless. I had to contact a family member who was 2.5 hours away to go pick up Patrick, then I'd drive south for 2 hours and pick Patrick up half way.
Finally, Patrick was to his limit, and he threatend legal recourse if Greyhound did not get him a wheelchair lift bus by that night. His anger and comments woke up a couple of people who decided to get off their dead cans and do some work for a change and get Patrick on the right bus.
His 1:30 bus trip out ended up being a 6pm out. We did not have to do the car pickup, but it just further created frustration. Patrick had a stroke that got him into the wheelchair and I was fearing that he'd have another stroke due to dealing with the insensative, inadequately trained staff working at Greyhound.
Never again will Patrick use Greyhound. They don't give a d**n about their customers, just the bottom line of moving cattle to and fro and collecting their paychecks. Patrick and I both pray that some major well-managed organization purchases Greyhound, fires ALL the upper management, fires 1/2 of the mid-management, re-trains the remaining staff with sensativity training - compassion! for their customers, and lots of new fresh faces, and bonus' for customer service ideas and other positive motivating things to make the company put customer service first.
I have often thought about what is the possibility that there is a group inside of Greyhound that targets luggage to forward to individuals within that group - as in a theft ring. When they brightly tag luggage for "Special Handling", it is like a "come & get it, I'm yours" sign for anyone to grab, since the individuals to whom the luggage belong to are often the elderly, children, or disabled. And how much power do those people have? NONE.
What does the American Indian proverb say "Do not judge a man unless you have walked a mile in his mocassins"? Unless you are an individual who is elderly, a child, or disabled, you do not know what being vulnerable is and be at the mercy of those who are well-bodied, strong, aggressive, and in power. Patrick and others like him have to count on the charity and compassion of others to be treated fairly and equally.
When a company like Greyhound Bus Lines does not implement into their policy strong customer service practices, then these things occur and go unchecked. How many times did the bus driver forget to check on Patrick during his 4 buses - 36 hour trips down from Buffalo NY to Dallas & vice-versa??? All of the time! NO bathroom relief; no food or drink picked up for him. They walk off the bus and leave him there alone to pee on himself or worse.
He was even mugged one time, while he was snoozing during a break. A man came on board and began trying to wrestle Patrick's bag from him; Patrick made so much ruckus that the guy fled. But what if the mugger had a knife and was more aggressive? No one was watching out for Patrick!
Am I angry at Greyhound Bus Lines?
What do you think?