Now Or Never

POV | I invited strangers on the bus to chat with me, and this happened

Trevor Dineen handed out buttons inviting strangers on the bus to chat with him - and invites you to do the same.
Would you talk to a stranger on your morning commute? 0:45

By Now or Never host Trevor Dineen

Have you ever ridden the bus? If you haven't, well la-di-da, but if you have, you may notice that a lot of people tend to keep to themselves.

A commuter in London, England noticed the same thing on the subway (which is really just a longer, faster bus). So he went out and made buttons that read "Tube chat?" and handed them out in hopes of getting conversations started. Unfortunately, someone else created an equally unique button that simply responded, "Nope."

Trevor Dineen is armed to invite strangers on the bus to talk to him. (Jim Agapito)

I'd read research showing that connecting with strangers makes your commute a more positive experience.

So I wanted to try a button campaign of my own (the chatting one, not the "Nope" one). I stocked up on buttons saying "Chat with me," and jumped on a bus to see what would happen.

Here's what I discovered from striking up conversations with strangers:

  • One gentleman was scared that Trump might win the election. (Spoiler alert: he did).
  • One woman enjoys listening to metal band Avenged Sevenfold on the bus. (Because, apparently, listening to heavy rock music will help you mosh your way out of any crowded bus).
  • One woman is secretly shy, but puts on an act at work and around friends, even though she really just wants to be left alone. (I think she was giving me a subtle hint).
  • One young fellow is taking up boxing. He wants to transition into mixed martial arts. (Because why limit yourself to just punching someone when you can kick them as well).
  • One man gets on the bus hoping he won't know anyone, so he won't be forced into a conversation. (Like with a nosy CBC Radio host).

Every person, except for one, took a button from me. And every person, except for one, took more buttons so they could hand them out. 

A commuter in London handed out these buttons, hoping they would spark conversations among passengers. (Twitter)

I'm not saying I started any kind of revolution. Rumour has it, they take some time. But I did meet a lot of interesting people that I wouldn't have if I was just playing Candy Crush on my smartphone.

And as of writing this blog post... not a single "Nope" button has popped up.

That automatically makes this social experiment a win. 

Do you want a "chat with me" button to brighten up your commute? Email Now or Never and we'll send one to you. We'd love to hear about the conversations you start up!