Ahmed Serhani, who drives the 214 bus, talks about life, loneliness and how to keep smiling, even when things aren’t “hunky dory”.
For those of you who don’t know, the 214 bus drives through Highgate and Kentish Town, destined for Camden Town. And, if you’ve ever been lucky enough to catch it (or the 274, which he previously drove), you may well have come across the lovely Ahmed – the friendliest bus driver in all of London.
Ahmed says that, for him, being a bus driver is “the best job in the world”, and that, while he’s a bus driver on paper, he’s really “just a friend.” He doesn’t see it as a job, but rather a way of meeting people and spreading joy.
Local filmmaker Joe Bloom has captured Ahmed’s personality beautifully in this six minute film – documenting his relationships with passengers old and new, and showing that, beneath his happy-go-lucky demeanour, he’s actually a very sensitive soul. When asked about life outside of bus driving, Ahmed reveals that he’d love to have a wife or a girlfriend and start a family: “I just want to go home and have somebody there.”
But he never lets anything get him down! He suggests that whenever you’re feeling sad you should ask yourself, “Are my problems really problems?” His philosophy is this: “You have two options; smile and get on with your life, or cry. Whether you smile or cry, the problem is still there. So what option would I choose? Smile, of course.”
Watch the short documentary here:
You can read all about Ahmed – and many other love stories about London buses – in the lovely book, Bus Fare.
Also published on Medium.