The Stowaway

The Stowaway

One night when I was a young conductor for Samuel Ledgard we arrived in Leeds (King Street) at 10.45pm and nipped along for a coffee at 'The American Coffee Bar' beneath Wellington Street. Returning to the bus at 11.00pm we found the usual full load on board and set forth for Ilkley. Well, due to the determination of half the drunks not to pay and my determination that they WOULD pay we had been on the road for three miles and ten minutes before I arrived at the front of the top deck. Stretched across the full width of the bus and drowsily luxuriating in the comfort from the under-seat heater was a beautiful golden Labrador. Three passengers paid their solo fares and so did the fourth man - "What about the dog then??" said I. "Nowt to do wi' me - nivver seen it afore in me life" said he. The remainder all chirrupped "Oh it got on in Leeds and just settled down there!!" What a dilemma at that time of night!! Luckily there was at Kirkstall a sub police station which was always manned and so I had no option but to take the lovely dog in there - and WHAT a struggle. I took him by the collar and gently urged him towards the back of the top deck and the stairs - he did NOT want to be arrested and, boy, did he have some power!! Sussing out the situation he thrust all four feet forward into "full braking” mode and his lovely brown eyes gazed at me, puzzled but with no malice, as if to say "What's up then??” when I finally got him inside the officer was not impressed and said "I don’t want him in 'ere!!" I replied "Well I don't want to be landed with him in Ilkley at Midnight” and beat a hasty retreat - two rapid bells, and on we went before I had the cuffs on!! Really, I do still feel guilty after nearly half a century when a friendly Labrador welcomes me with that lovely kind face, I wonder if the 'Andrex' puppy on TV could be a descendant of my Stowaway??

Chris Youhill



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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Wednesday 22nd September 2021