With temperatures soaring in northern territories, we tend to forget that for many of our southern neighbors, it’s winter. In the Maule region of Chile, where temperatures can drop to 35°F in August, many have been trying to avoid being outside.
Last week, on his bus route, driver Cristhian Lizama was surprised when one of his passengers boarded the bus without a pass. It turns out the rider was simply looking for a place to warm up and take a nap. The four-legged commuter was traveling alone and given the cold temperatures outside, Lizama decided to waive the fare. The passenger, a dog Lizama had assumed belonged to the passenger who boarded ahead of him, was simply looking for shelter from the cold weather. The canine quickly found a spot and gratefully curled up for a rest.
"I was at work and stopped to pick up a gentleman when a small dog climbed up behind him," Lizama said. "I did not want to take him off the bus because he was so cold."
Lizama, who posted a video of his unusual passenger to Facebook, said he didn’t have the heart to kick the pooch off the bus.
“There are passengers who regularly dirty the seats and throw litter on the floor. The dog just sits there and enjoys the ride,” says the driver. “I am not going to take the dog off at the terminal either because we are so far from where it got on. It will get lost, so I am going to leave the dog here to sleep.”
After uploading the video, Lizama went to get the dog some food and water, but when he returned to the bus, the dog had disappeared. After speaking to other drivers at the terminal, Lizama discovered that the dog was a regular on several bus routes, though no one knows where the dog lives. For now, he continues to be welcome aboard Maule public transit.