A white-haired couple got on the bus just in front of me. I was the last one in line, climbed in, and said "Bonjour Monsieur" to the driver, a black man in his thirties. He nodded at me, closed the doors and drove off. The old lady validated her ticket and had walked to the back of the bus, but the old man, who was blocking me in the tight space between himself and the door, was having trouble with his ticket. Each time he tried to validate it, the machine made a noise that meant Not valid!
"Monsieur, the ticket does not work," said the old man.
"Bonjour Monsieur!" answered the driver.
"The ticket does not work," said the old man.
"Bonjour Monsieur!" said the bus driver.
"I said it when I got on," the old man said.
"I didn't hear you," said the bus driver.
"The ticket does not work," said the old man again.
"Bonjour Monsieur!" said the driver again.
The old lady walked back to see what was wrong.
"Bonjour Monsieur," said the old lady. "Georges, try the ticket again."
He did and the machine made the reject noise again. I was still stuck in the narrow space behind the old man and wished he would just say "Bonjour" already.
"Your ticket is invalid, Monsieur," said the bus driver.
"Mais non! Look!"
"Look, Monsieur!" said the driver.
"Look, Monsieur!" said the old man.
"Monsieur, this ticket has already been used," said the driver. "See that stamp? It was used today at 12:13. You can't use it again."
The old lady looked sad. Her husband probably has the beginnings of Alzheimers. "Here is another ticket, Georges," she said, pressing it into his hand. He validated it and went slowly to sit down.
The driver smiled at me as I validated my own ticket. He was what an expat I once met called a Bonjouriste.
If you didn't know this already, you always have to say Bonjour [Monsieur/Madame] in France. To bus drivers, taxi drivers, bakery assistants, metro ticket sellers, grocery clerks, yes everybody! Or they will think you are the rude one.