Do you say ‘thank you’ to the London bus driver?

Do you say ‘thank you’ to the London bus driver?

A simple trip on the bus makes an Aussie expat question her perceptions of what common courtesy is. Are Aussies more polite than Brits?

People tend to laugh at me a lot. It is usually because I am telling them our unfortunate tale of broken feet and stolen passports in Paris, or about our The Hangover style weekend in Vegas. Sometimes it’s simply because I am having a #typicaljacquiday (it’s a thing) and have walked into the doorway or dropped my phone in the toilet. Either way, I seem to be the source of amusement for my friends and family around the globe.

This is not something that I usually mind, but a few of my friends laughed at me for saying “thank you” to the driver as I departed a London bus.

Now, this particular bus driver had not done anything at all to deserve my thanks and was, in fact, fairly grumpy. However, I like to think that my thanks might have brightened her day just a little.

Then I read an article that claimed to have sent undercover reporters to 35 countries to assess the politeness in their biggest cities. London and Paris were tied for 15th place in the most courteous list of countries, with Auckland ranked 7th. Deservedly, New York was ranked number 1. This makes sense to me, as it is tied with London for my favourite two cities.

But where was Australia represented on the list?

Regrettably, Sydney was tied with Milan as number 24 on the LEAST courteous list, lumped in with the likes of Bangkok, Amsterdam and Montreal. I was saddened by this revelation as I like to think that my fellow Aussies are always polite, and that old-fashioned customer service is still evident in our friendly but laidback life-style.

Apparently not…

Maybe I think too highly of my fellow Aussies? It’s something that became apparent after my two friends laughed at me when I thanked the grumpy, old bus driver in the middle of London. You see, they were both Aussies. Even my husband had a giggle at my expense.

While some people might think that being overly polite is insincere and humbug, I am truly a believer that being polite is all about being considerate and appreciative of others. Just like booking your transport, packing your underwear, or investigating the cultural norms of your travel destination, I believe that being courteous and polite are essential qualities for every traveler (and human being).

After having lived in London, I was not surprised that the city fared better than most… but tied with Paris? After our misfortunes in Paris and being forced to deal with local police and foreign embassies while trying to replace stolen passports, I just can’t see how Paris was considered London’s equal in terms of politeness.

Although in terms of pastries, Paris is definitely your lady.

Read Jacqui’s blog about her overseas working holiday adventures with her husband:

TOP IMAGE: Via Pixabay

Jacqui Moroney

Jacqui Moroney

Jacqui Moroney is a marketeer, avid travel writer and ex banker, traveling around the world on the honeymoon of a lifetime. She was born in the red centre of Australia, raised near the coast in Brisbane and is now a nomad in search of adventure with her new hubby. Jacqui is a travel writer, with a focus on living in London and traveling the world with her partner in crime. When she is not traveling, Jacqui is an amateur wine enthusiast, an unapologetic food junkie, and enjoying her never ending honeymoon!