A few years ago, I unearthed a travel journal from a month-long trip to Europe that I took in 2006. As I reviewed its pages, I was struck by just how many details of the trip I had completely forgotten. And if the memories of a once-in-a lifetime trip that was so impactful to me could fade away – how much of my day-to-day life is lost? Sensations, emotions, achievements, losses, experiences from the mundane to the exceptional, all transforming from that specific moment in time to become that day, that week, that year, that life…

As I get older and gain a better understanding of how fragile, how brief, and how precious life really is, it's become even more important to me to me experience it to its fullest and to try to retain all of those little moments that might otherwise get lost. It's with this idea that I started the process of recording these moments – a travel journal, of sorts.

A travel journal for life.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

BUS TALES: HOW A COMMUTING DETOUR MADE MY DAY

Yesterday morning, our bus driver missed our exit to downtown. It was the same driver that I've had almost every day and the same exit we take every single day without fail.

At first, I was confused and worried that maybe I had picked up the wrong bus, but I recognized the driver and the passengers, so I was assured that I was right. 

Port Authority Transit 5617 - 10JUN10
Then, I got very excited. I started to think that perhaps we, the passengers of the 53L were, in fact, part of a big dramatic giveaway... that our driver was actually taking us to the designated reveal location where we would all be greeted by our loved ones, balloons, confetti, and champagne. Oprah would be there, shouting that we were all now rich enough that we and our families would never have to work again, and Ellen would be passing out kittens, keys to a variety of stunning luxury vehicles and beach homes, and student loan repayment exemptions.

I was thoroughly engrossed in this daydream when I was distracted by the sound of other passengers starting to murmur and the driver suck in a sharp breath and exclaim “Oh, shit!  I can’t believe I just did that!”

“I’m so sorry, guys!” she shouted back to us, “I’ll have us right back on track, I promise!” True to her word, she took the very next exit and got the bus right back to the scheduled route and me right back to reality.

While it did keep me giggling for most of the day, this example of how I get so intensely invested in the world that goes on in my head is not really the meat of the story here…  

What happened next is what truly made my day.

Since I get off of the bus on the very last stop, and I was the last remaining passenger on the bus, the driver started a conversation with me.  Shaking her head, she said, “I just cannot believe that I did that, I’m just so embarrassed.”  She revealed to me that she didn't even have another route that goes that way or any real reason to have missed the exit other than the fact that she had just completely zoned out.  I assured her that it was no big deal, it only made a slight time difference and everyone got where they needed to be. “I was just completely lost in thought,” she continued; “this weekend, I posted a picture of my pool on Facebook.  It’s all cloudy and gross because the pump broke, and I was complaining that it was such a beautiful day, and I can’t use my pool because I can’t afford a new pump right now.”  She said she also jokingly lamented her lack of a pool-boy (a tall, dark, and handsome one preferably).

With a shaky voice, she continued her story. “Do you know that the very next day, this guy, a friend that I don’t even know that well and haven’t been in touch with for a long time, showed up on my doorstep with a pump that he offered just to give to me?  Those pumps are over $1000 new – and I mean, it was used – he said he used to have a pool but doesn't anymore – but still, I couldn’t believe it!”

“That is awesome!” I agreed.

She went on. “To top it off, he stayed and hooked it up for me and helped me clean my pool. I mean, who DOES that??  I was just so blown away – he didn't want anything in return.”  Obviously choking back tears, she added, “I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, and that’s what I was thinking about when I missed the exit.  I didn't know that kind of kindness existed.”

A little weepy myself, I thanked her for sharing her story and told her I thought that was the best reason in the world for missing an exit.  It was an excellent reminder of how much a little act of kindness can affect someone’s life.

As I stepped off of the bus, I turned around and asked…  “I've just gotta know, was he tall, dark and handsome??.” She threw her arms up and her head back. “Yes, LORD, he was!” she shouted.

I clapped my hands and did a little dance right there on the street.

And that is the story of how a commuting detour made my day!


No comments:

Post a Comment