Sunday, July 26, 2015

Remember Charlie and the MTA?

Back in 1959, the Metropolitan Transit Authority in Boston, MA, was immortalized by a hit song called "Charlie and the MTA." The Kingston Trio sang of a man named Charlie who boarded an MTA train with a dime. During his ride, the fare increased, and since he had no more change, he had to say on the train for the rest of his life. Hear the trio sing this tongue-in-cheek ballad at

Fortunately, times have changed since Charlie disappeared. The MTA has grown into the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority) and some drivers, like John Lohan, are known for their kindness. Last week he was piloting bus 35 to the Dedham Mall when he noticed kids running a lemonade stand on the curb. On his next trip, he asked his seven passengers if they'd mind stopping at the stand. He offered to buy everyone a cup of lemonade. They agreed, so he pulled over. The kids were astonished. This had never happened before.


The lemonade cost 50 cents a cup, so the tab was $3.50, but Lohan paid with a $10 bill and didn't ask for change, convinced the children would have a story they could tell for the rest of their lives and so would the passengers.

"I was surprised because usually none of the busses stop," said 11-year-old Shannon McGovern. "He gave us ten dollars, so he's awesome," added 14-year-old Erin Starkey. "I gave them a little bit of a tip," Lohan laughed, "but it was still the cheapest round I've ever sprung for."

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