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A bus ride inspired this woman to thaw the Seattle Freeze. Now she's in for a surprise.

Gabriel Spitzer
Susan Fee reunited with the elusive "Care Bear" Bonnie Robinson


This story originally aired March 1, 2019.  

Susan Fee always knew she wanted to move back to Seattle someday. She and her husband both grew up around here, namely Federal Way, but work opportunities had them move to different parts of the Midwest, including Chicago, St. Louis, and Cleveland. Once Susan and her husband became empty-nesters, they were ready to return to Seattle. As they prepared to move, Susan heard rumors that the city had grown frosty in the 25 years since she'd moved away.


For the uninitiated, the Seattle Freezeis a term that refers to the difficulty newcomers seem to have making friends when they first move to Seattle. Seattleites guilty of perpetrating the Freeze have been described as “cold, standoffish, and flaky,” showing “a general lack of interest” in making new friends or talking to strangers. There are plenty of theories as to why there is a Seattle Freeze, but needless to say it made Susan’s attempt to make new friends difficult.


After more than a year of attempting to find community in Seattle, Susan was feeling discouraged and dejected. That was until she met Bonnie the bus driver.

Susan was so inspired by her encounter with Bonnie that she told a version of it at the live storytelling event called Fresh Ground Stories. Word of the magical, mysterious Care Bear Bonnie spread, and the story was picked up by The Evergrey. People started recognizing Susan at other storytelling events and would ask her if she ever found Care Bear Bonnie. Susan never did have Bonnie as her driver again, but she did have the chance to finally thank her in person.

Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.