"Funemployment" is what Freddy Jackson, once a St. Paul concierge, calls his own personal world of unemployment.
This past fall, Jackson has been spending his spare time driving around Minneapolis and St. Paul randomly picking up people waiting at MTC bus stops, wrote TD Mischke of City Pages.
According to City Pages, when Jackson's grandfather died last February, leaving him a small inheritance Jackson bought an old MTC bus from a Hastings junkyard for $2,000.
"I'm on the road," Jackson told City Pages with a grin. "I drove 26 people around the city today. No charge"
According to City Pages, Jackson said he has been driving around on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for about six hours each day, picking up random people waiting for their regular buses.
"I tell them I'll get them where they're going faster, plus they can grab something cold from the cooler. I have hot coffee on hand, too," Jackson said.
According to Mischke, Jackson is currently living off of unemployment and is looking for work, but will lament the day he has to park his bus and move on.
"I've had people try and pay me for this, but I won't take it," he says. "One guy tried to stick a hundred-dollar bill in my shirt pocket just to help cover the gas. I told him Grandpa is covering the gas."
Jackson offers all the services a concierge would to his riders. Sally Sundeen told City Pages that once Jackson picked her up and drove her straight to her job at the University of Minnesota. Not only did she get a cup of coffee with sugar and cream, but when they arrived he walked her to the door and held it open for her.
Often, new arrivals to the bus are greeted with music, either played over the sound system, or sung to by other passengers.
"I was driving through Dinkytown during homecoming week, and I had five or six students on the bus singing 'My Girl' right along with the stereo. The sun was shining so bright, and the air was crisp and cool, and I said to myself, life is just a series of moments, you know, some better, some worse, and this one is as good as any I've ever known," Jackson said.