Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Gypsy Girl On a German Bus

--by swirly023, posted Nov 13, 2007
While we were riding the old German bus in Tirana (Albania), a gypsy girl entered. Seven years old. Most gypsy kids have a 'dead' look in their eyes. Hardened by the world, by what they have experienced. The Albanian gypsies live in slums, their children beg on the streets so that the parents can afford to buy alcohol and continue their addiction. Girls as young as twelve wash car windows at the stoplight, holding a baby with their other arm. Little kids lay down on the sidewalks of Tirana to catch some sleep and rest their dirty limbs. Everytime we saw this hardened 'dead' look in their eyes.

But not this girl. She was radiant. A beautiful smile across her face, sparkling eyes. She just stood there, in between me and my two friends. Flip flops, black t-shirt, short messy brown hair which matched her tomboy personality. A joyful presence. She started talking to us, and our Albanian friend translated for us. This little girl -smile from ear to ear- was called Angela. She was on her way to visit her grandfather in a nearby slum-village. I desperately searched my purse for something nice to give to her, while the bus driver smiled and ignored the fact that this girl had not payed for a ticket.

Sadly all I had with me was gum. She eagerly put a piece in her mouth, then squinted her eyes because the gum was mint-flavored. It seemed like she had never tasted it before. She started giggling and people in the bus were entertained by it all. Then grabbed the big plastic bag she was carrying, waved and hopped out of the bus.

Out of our lives. But not out of my mind.  This girl deserves so much more than her poor circumstances, yet she didn't let any of it get her down and there was something radiant within her that was shining through.  I pray I will meet her again someday, so that I can give her that hug which I should have given her that day in the bus!
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Readers Comments

elaine.erich wrote: Just posted a'story on the 'Elusive Gypsy Lady' This story too is a great story
creatinggoodkarma wrote: I think its a great thing that you felt such compassion for this one girl i am however sad to read that what seemed to be your impression of "all" gypsies is that all the adults and parents are abusive drunks. like Al Schweitzer mentioned the gypsies sre "people" who endured great suffering.The despair of the gypsy community is their own as well as the fault of many. I think perhaps it would be safe to assume that the adults of the gypsy community were once children and possibly "radiant" as well. I think compassion should be so plentiful that is can be extended to all.
EePee wrote: Dear Swirly023,
THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for sharing your gift in the most unexpected package!(:-)

There is so much beauty to be seen, if only we would be more aware. I tend much too often to see the negative instead of turning all negatives into positives.

I wish everyone the eyes to see!
katlampi wrote: Optimism, even in the roughest of circumstances, is always an enviable and redeeming quality. She certainly deserves much better. Thank you for sharing this story with us.
mdadlaza wrote: Sometimes we miss out on doing something for just one second and its gone never to come back. This little girl deseves much more than a sympathetic gesture. She deserves a proper home to live at and a `normal' life to lead. Any way you did your best at the short time you had with her even though you could have done much better.
swirly023 wrote: I actually added that I hoped I would meet her again in heaven. But for some odd reason they deleted that part of my story before putting it onto the site. Anyways, meeting Angela was awesome. Thanks for all the kind replies!
Swift wrote: Lest we underestimate any human being's ability to feel love and compassion.

This just goes to show that true happiness is not made by monetary wealth or material posessions. Thank you Swirly for a wonderful story.
kunjukunju wrote: Gypsies are very common in india. their living condition is pathetic. But this youg girl is different. You have noticed it and you found it. normally people look at them with the same eyes - the eyes filled with sympathy. They doesnt need sympathy but they need a helping hand. Each one of us is liable for that.
Al Schweitzer wrote: The Gypsies are a people who, because of the turmoil of wars and anarchy, migrated into Asia Minor and thence to Europe from Northern India over a 1000 years ago. Because many of them still look "Indian" over 2 million Gypsies were cooked by Hitler in the same ovens in which he dispatched 6 million Jews. While Germany has paid close to $60B in reparations to Israel for the harm it did to the Jews, it has no paid a plugged nickel to the Gypsy survivors of its killing camps. A great act of Charity would be for a bunch of lawyers to take a cause of the Gypsies and sue Germany for reparations for the Gypsies. Any takers?
irongrace wrote: its amazing how small things like gum mean so much to someone who has never had it. I just realized what i take for granted. I hope you meet her some day.

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