John Lohan, an MBTA bus driver for nearly 19 years, looked back at the scattered passengers on the 35 bus Thursday afternoon and popped the question: Who wants to stop at the child-run lemonade stand on the side of the street? His treat.
“I said to them, ‘If any of you are in a hurry or need to make a connection, I’ll keep going,’’’ Lohan told Boston.com.
Nobody did. The passengers all nodded their approval. And so Lohan pulled over in West Roxbury, hopped out, and treated his riders to a cup of lemonade each.
“I thought it would take 90 seconds, tops,’’ he said. “Which is about what it was. … I wait at red lights longer than that.’’
Lohan, a 49-year-old Jamaica Plain resident, had a small confession to make: The lemonade stop wasn’t a spur of the moment decision.
He had seen the lemonade stand an hour and 20 minutes earlier, the last time he had driven the route, which goes from the Forest Hills Orange Line station to Dedham. He thought to himself then—if the passengers were OK with it—that a stop might make for a fun idea the next time through. Mostly, he said, it would be a memorable experience for the kids doing the selling.
Still, he needed the right circumstances to make it happen.
He had a small number of passengers, all consenting. The MBTA sees lower usage in the summer than the rest of the year, and with the clock reading about 2:30 p.m., he was off-rush hour as well. The lemonade stand was set up near the end of his route, meaning the passenger number was low, and it was stationed right off a bus stop, making it all the easier to pull over.
For all those reasons, Lohan said, this was probably a one-time stop on the 35 bus.
“All the stars were aligned,’’ he said. “The conditions were just right. … Ninety percent of the time, you can’t do that on the job.’’
The lemonade cost 50 cents a cup. Lohan said he was pleased to see streetside lemonade is seemingly protected from inflation.
“I was surprised by that,’’ he said. “Decades ago, it was 50 cents. I thought it was a good deal.’’
You can see Lohan distribute the lemonade to six passengers starting around the four-minute mark in the video below.
This is what the MBTA used to look like