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Driving Home The Kindness, Part 7

, , , | Working | June 16, 2016

(My husband and I live in a small rural town and haven’t spent much time in the city, and when we are there we usually drive so we never deal with buses. However, our daughter was born eight weeks early and we were airlifted to the nearest capital city without our car. The day I’m discharged we spend the rest of our day in the NICU, then get on the wrong bus and end up at a shopping centre. My phone is flat so I can’t look up a schedule, and I’m about ready to cry because I had to leave my newborn for the first time in days. We see a bus pull up that we THINK is the right bus.)

Me: *stepping onto bus* “Excuse me, does this bus go to [Suburb]?”

Driver: “It does, but I’m on a loop and I’m headed in the opposite direction for a while before I turn around. You’ve just missed the direct one.”

Me: “That’s okay; we’ll just ride along. How much for two tickets, please?”

Driver: “It’s [amount], but I can only take cash at the moment. The PayPass is down.”

Me: “Oh. Sorry for wasting your time. We don’t have any change on us.”

(We start to get off the bus. As I turn, my sleeve rides up and my bright blue, very distinctive hospital parents’ bracelet is visible. As we step off the bus, the driver yells after us.)

Driver: “Wait!”

Me: “Yes?” *thinking he’s going to yell at me for wasting his time, already having tears rolling down my face*

Driver: “Jump on. No charge.”

Husband: “What! No, we couldn’t—”

Driver: “I mean it now. Get in this bus or I am not leaving this stop.”

(Shocked, we get into the almost empty bus and take a seat. We stay in the bus for a while with people getting on and off, and by the time we reach our stop, we’re the only two on the bus. During the ride we’d dug through my handbag and found some small change that totalled up to almost the right amount for the fare. As we go to get off, my husband tries to hand it to the driver.)

Driver: “Nope. No way, mate.” *he reaches into his back pocket and takes out his wallet, pulling out a photo* “Here’s my little one back when she was a NICU baby. She just started Uni up the road. You take care of that little one now. They’ll be grown and out the door before you know it.”

(To that bus driver: thank you for showing us so much kindness on a day when we really, really needed it. I still think about you whenever I look down at my happy, healthy toddler.)

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