The bus hurtles down the highway. The driver focuses intently on the road ahead.
Passengers chat, relaxing in their safe and comfortable seats.
They pass a large roadside sign that says “Warning! Danger ahead”.
A few of the passengers exchange worried glances but the driver doesn't seem concerned.
But more and more of the danger signs begin to appear. The driver does not slow her thundering vehicle.
Some of the passengers grow even more worried. The driver calls for calm and announces that everything is fine. She says that she’s contacted the depot about the signs and they are going to get some people to have a discussion about them at some point.
One of the passengers, who had already voiced his rather strident opinion on a range of topics, advises everybody just to relax.
“Those signs are just a hoax, don’t worry”, he proclaims. “They are put up by the sign company just to frighten people and sell more signs!” Don’t be sheep!”
Another passenger offers the opinion that the sign company conspiracy theory makes no sense whatsoever. She suggests that the signs seem pretty credible and should be taken seriously.
“What about the signs that actually show pictures of the road ending at a cliff?” she said. “They look pretty real to me”.
“Why would all those signs be there for everyone to see if there was no danger? We can’t just deny what the signs are telling us! Shouldn’t we at least slow down a bit?”
A lot of the passengers agreed with her.
But, another person claimed that the signs were nothing new and he had seen them on other roads in the past and no bad things had happened.
“Stop fear-mongering!” he yelled. “I know signs! Seen em since I was a kid”. “All them boffin type people who write them signs don’t know what they are talking about.”
“Besides, even if they are real, it’s only people on later buses that would need to worry.”
The driver promises that something would be done about the signs later on, but warns that the economy would suffer if buses didn’t run on time. She makes no attempt to stop or slow down.
The argument goes back and forth. The passengers split into two camps.
A couple of the passengers in the high seats at the front of the bus scream that they can actually see the end of the road and the ocean far below.
But, the sign denialist camp doubles down on their hoax claims and will not be swayed even as the evidence that they are wrong becomes more and more compelling.
And, the driver still will not slow down.
“We have to stay on schedule”, she mutters, head down, intent on the road immediately in front of the speeding bus. “People’s livelihoods are at stake if we don’t keep going.”
Suddenly, the cliff is upon them. But, by then, it is far too late to stop in time.