A More Cheerful Bus Driver
--by smileswithhope, posted Jun 18, 2018
I'd never heard a more cheerful bus driver.
I put my book down and craned my neck around in my seat. My eyes caught the sight of an older blind woman amid a wave of people filtering onto the bus. She nudged her walking stick forward, stepped up, and got situated in her seat.
"What stop are you getting off at today?" the bus driver called out, his voice as sing-songy as a bird in Springtime.
"Downtown subway," the woman answered.
The bus continues making its way downtown. At each stop, the bus driver flashes a wide smile, nodding his head at familiar faces and contented greeting people onto his humble transportation abode.
"Nice to see you again!" "How are you doing today?" "Haven't seen you in awhile!" "You're at a new stop, today!" "Great to see you, have a nice day, now!"
At one point, the bus is about to pull away, and a woman a half block behind is sprinting to make it. He notices, waits for her to reach, and greets her with a wide smile.
I completely put my book away at this point and am just watching the flow of the bus, and the bus drivers air of pleasant calm, like nothing can go wrong. It stumps me a bit. Most bus drivers I encounter are not so cheery. They're usually swimming up against a long list of complaints, interfacing with anonymous busy riders, and constantly racing the clock so as not to run late, though it's never so easy to control. This bus driver completely flipped my sense of what it means to drive a bus. It almost brought me back to my pre-school days, where we'd sing, "The wheels on the bus go round and round," to images of smiling bus drivers greeting their patrons and serving society with each shining spin of their wheel or honk of their horn.
"This is your stop, ma'am," he calls out.
"Thank you," the blind woman replies, and slowly gets to her feet.
The bus driver looks at two other riders getting off at the same stop.
"Can you make sure she makes it okay on the subway?" he asks.
"I don't need any chaperone," the woman asserts -- a loving harshness in her tone of voice.
"Alright," he replies, still in a surreal, sing-song voice. "Have a wonderful day! It was a real joy to have you today."
Meanwhile, a crowd of people wait at the back door of the bus, where the majority of the bus riders are supposed to get off.
"The back door's not opening!" various voices shout up. "Can you open the back door, please?"
"Oh, my fault! I'm sorry, was just making sure this lady got off okay. Here you go!" he smiles swinging the back doors wide open.
Folks filter out. New faces step on.
I'm sitting there in awe. A thought pops into my head that I should tell him how much I appreciated seeing his kindness, especially to the blind woman.
"No, that's kind of random," a voice inside my head tells me, as my doubtful subconscious comes up with all sorts of excuses. "You're supposed to go out the back door anyway, so you won't have a chance to go up and say anything to the bus driver."
I think about it again. And then I think about all the small, bold, courageous moments of kindness I've encountered in this community. There's no turning back. :)
As the bus approaches my stop, I walk to the front of the bus.
"Thank you so much for your kindness to that blind woman. It was really nice to see," I offer.
"Aw, that's really to hear. Thank you so much! It's nice to know that someone noticed. My brother is deaf, so I have a special soft spot for people with disabilities," he explained.
"Well I really appreciated seeing it. It was inspiring and made my day," I told him with a smile.
"Thank you, that really makes my day," he replied with an ever-shining bright smile.
We conversed a little more, and any wave of doubt was completely dissolved.
I stepped off the bus a little lighter, and grinning wide. Was reminded of a quote I once came across:
"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." --William Arthur Ward
Gratitude to have encountered such memorable stories of extraordinary everyday kindness, and to be in contact with beautiful souls whose simple presence nudges me to Be Vocal In Times of Beauty. :)