A Detour To Kindness

, , , , | Friendly | May 28, 2020

The bus I am taking is detoured due to an event. The end stop has also changed. I’m on the bus and it starts to deviate from its normal route. One of the passengers runs to the front. At first, she only yells at the driver that he is wrong and he should turn back.

The bus driver tries to explain but she is having none of it, and the situation quickly escalates as the passenger becomes violent towards the driver.

A good number of people are sitting closer to the front but nobody reacts. As the situation is quickly turning unsafe, I get up to the front. I’m not sure about this woman’s diagnosis, but it is clear from the young lady’s actions that she has a disorder that makes it difficult for her to deal with changes.

Me: *Speaking reassuringly* “Due to [event], the bus is rerouted, but it will be all right.”

Lady: “No, no, no, I don’t know how to get to my work now and I will be late.”

Me: “It will be all right. I’ll explain to you how to get there.”

Lady: “I need to go to [usual end stop]! I cannot get to my work otherwise.”

By now, it is clear to me that the girl is stuck in her mind. I lead her away from the driver as she is still lashing out to him but a bit less violently.

Me: “Come, sit here. It will be all right.”

Although the passenger’s panic was subsiding, it was not far away and needed little to rekindle. I tried to explain to her how she could get to her work but she was not responding. I resigned myself to arriving late to work myself. I kept talking to her, repeating that it would be fine.

I led her from the bus as she seemed unable to take action herself and walked with her until we got to a point she recognized and I was sure she would be able to get to her job — in the opposite direction of mine. All the time, I was responding to her mutterings, telling her it would be all right and that her boss would understand.

I was bolstered in that idea by the actions of a coworker of hers that happened to come by. She did not respond to him but it was clear that he knew her and knew of whatever she was dealing with. I got her safely where she had to go and made it with a second to spare to my own job.

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