Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Glimpsing the good of Humanity...on a bus

I've been staying at work much later than I should lately and yesterday was no exception. I had plans to go to the Holiday Stew at the Union Project, which started at 7:00 and I left my office at 6:35 (yes I know...I should just GO HOME). I was going to be late.

So at 6:50, I arrived across the bridge at the bus stop and started looking for my bus tickets. I frantically searched my coat pockets and every crevice of my backpack as the 71A approached...and passed me by. This shouldn't be too big of a deal, but after a long day of staring at a computer screen, I was pretty drained and my emotions were a bit out of whack. (Plus, the buses do not run as often after 7:00, so that means more waiting.)

I think I was checking the lining of my coat to see if they fell through the hole in my pocket when the 71D stopped to open its door. I made a desperate motion of resignation, indicating that I didn't have a way to pay my fare (I had a 20 dollar bill, but I would rather walk than give that much).

First relief, the guy waved for me to get on the bus.

As I stammered something about needing to be on the bus that just passed, he gave me a transfer and said I could catch one up in Oakland. Second relief.

I tried to sound as grateful as I could when I thanked him and found a seat on the mostly vacant bus. I called my friend to tell her I'd be pretty late.

After a few minutes, the bus driver motioned for me to come to the front of the bus. I hung up the phone and saw the 71A looming through the front window. He said, "You'll have to rush, but you can probably make it at the next red light up here."

I thought, "yay, I might be able to catch the right bus after all!" Then the bus driver made me pause.

"Now listen, I have a daughter in college who's about 20. And after I'm done here, I'm going to go pick her up... I couldn't have left you stranded out there."

He stopped the bus, he honked his horn a couple times and before I knew it I was racing over to the 71A as the light turned green. I made it on, thanked the driver for waiting and sat down in a heap.

And started to cry.

I know, I'm a weird emotional girl sometimes, but several feelings overwhelmed me at that moment.

Gratitude, for the kind actions of a stranger.

Joy, that somehow this one small act redeemed my perception of humanity in general.

Sadness, that I often do not live to serve and see the little things I can do for the others around me.

Awe, that these events could line up to make possible what I could not achieve on my own.

Perhaps that bus driver (I didn't have time to get his name) didn't realize it, but his action and words made me have a moment to reflect and see how God is good and how He works in the events in my life...big and small. It was just what I needed at that moment...a reminder that there is something bigger at work and there are more lives to consider than my own. That bus driver wasn't just a mechanical, lifeless robot who merely transports people from place to place. He's a human being with his own joys and struggles.

Mr. 71D bus driver, I thank you for that reminder, and I hope you and your daughter enjoy a very Merry Christmas together.

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