Beach Day by Rodger Bliss
September 2022
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Boy on Bus

An 11-year-old boy is standing at the bus stop, waiting for the bus. The number 12 bus. And it’s about 12:30 in the afternoon. And he’s standing there with the new fishing rod he just bought. The fishing rod is five feet long.

The bus stops and the boy attempts to enter the bus and the bus driver stops him as he puts that first foot in the door and the driver says, “Nah, you can’t get on.” And the kid asks, “Why?” And he says, there’s a city ordinance, number 113, which prohibits anyone from carrying packages on the bus longer than 4 feet. And the kid says, “How am I going to get home?” The bus driver says, “That’s your problem. That fishing rod is about 5 feet long and I’m booting you out.”

So, he kicks him off and the kid stands there bewildered. He says “I’ll have to go back to the store and return it.” He goes back to the store and they say no returns after 15 minutes.

So, he’s stuck with the fishing rod and no way to get home. He can’t take a cab. He’s got to take the bus and the fishing rod is 5 feet long. He walks back to the store again, realizing he can’t return it. Five minutes later he’s on the bus with the fishing rod. Without altering it, breaking it, sawing it in half, collapsing it. He does nothing to alter the fishing rod. How does he do it?

Originally published on December 6, 2009

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15 guesses to Boy on Bus


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  • EvilCheese

    He buys a new rod

  • Dude

    Nope! Keep trying.

  • He got on a different bus. Maybe in a different city, the riddle mentioned it was a city ordinance.

  • Dude

    Nope, that’s not it. There is a legitimate reason why he was able to ride. Same bus, same rules.

    Keep trying.

  • Crazynomad

    If he just bought it then the rod is packaged therefore by removing it from the packaging it is not longer a packaged item so he then may board the bus.

  • Dude

    Crazy Nomad, that is an excellent guess! Not correct, however.

    Packaged or unpackaged, there is a four foot rule.

    Here’s a hint: When the boy returns, the rod is indeed packaged, and he’s still let on.

    Keep guessing.

  • MiniGuess

    He hides it behind him, since the bus driver can only see the front side?
    But that’s only assuming that this boy is about 5 feet tall and he can hide it with his height

  • Dude

    Great thinking!

    But not the answer we were looking for.

    Better luck awaits.

  • Crazynomad

    The ordinance is time based after a certian time he can board the buss with a item over 4ft.

  • Dude

    Nope! Keep trying.

    Hint: The key is the measurements.

  • Joe

    he turns it over-its five feet wide not long

  • Tiffy

    He buys a four feet by four feet box and stores the fishing rod diagonally.

  • Dude

    Tiffy, you nailed it!

    Actually, a 4×3 box would do the trick. He can store a five foot rod diagonally.

    You are today’s winner!

  • Tiffy

    :D Thank you!

  • eric

    using Pythagorean theorem, the boy went back to the store to ask for a 3’x4′ box. He put the rod in diagonally, and boarded the bus