lessons from the bus.

Since I work and live on campus, I frequent the school's free shuttle service. Our apartment is on the far south end of campus, and I work more towards the north end, so it's both more economical and time efficient. Anyways, I always try to say hello to the bus driver as I get on, and to thank them as I leave. However, yesterday I happened to be on the same bus twice: once on my way home for lunch, and again on my way back after lunch.

I'd ridden this particular bus driver's bus before, and I decided to be brave and go out of my way to talk to him. I sat right at the front of the bus. He's a middle-aged gentleman, with a kind smile. He even says a polite little "thank you" when anyone pulls the wire for a stop....even though they don't usually hear him. So I started a conversation. I asked him how long he'd been driving the bus, and we talked about school, how he wants to attend grad school in a year, how I'm not really ready for going back to school yet. How his wife and my husband both are took advantage of the excellent tuition benefits for having a spouse who is a full-time university employee. In short, my 10 minute bus ride gave me some insight into a kind man who most people just ignore.

I'm really happy I worked up my nerve (I'm usually kind of shy) to talk to him. I'm glad I took the time to get to know him as a person, and not just treat him as another inevitable interaction in my busy day. I feel like more and more, people go through their lives not really noticing one another....too wrapped up in themselves to share a smile with a stranger, or to make a little small talk that just might brighten someone's day.

I have to say, this isn't easy for me. And it's not something I'd come to just on my own. I'm trying to make this little habit part of my everyday life, and it's really because of TJ's example. TJ is so outgoing and friendly to nearly everyone he meets. He's always striking up one conversation or another, be it with the checkout clerk at the grocery store, or the teller at the bank. He's a people person....because he likes people. He takes those few moments when he's not really doing anything to get to know the people he interacts with, no matter how briefly.

I think that's the way life is intended to be...for us to know our fellow human beings, and to make each other's lives a little tiny bit better in any way we can. Working in the customer service industry, I know the difference it makes to help someone who is understanding, patient, and takes the time to make you smile. It makes me enjoy what I do a little bit more.

So that's my challenge to myself and anyone else who cares to take part: to take notice of and really see the people around me; to make my daily human interactions a little more human and a little less automatic.

I rode that man's bus again today.....and I asked him for my stop instead of pulling the wire as usual. I thanked him for the ride, and he bid me a good evening. And I smiled because I felt a little more human.

I think TJ is proud of me.

4 comments :

  1. I know EXACTLY who you're talking about! His name is Alan, he and his wife were in my Spanish 101 class freshman year :) He's the nicest guy ever, and I love how he says "thank you" whenever someone uses the pull cord. I'm glad you got to talk to him! He's fantastic, and he is so loving to his wife. Love it.

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  2. This is so sweet, Kylie! You are such a good person.

    And girl. I LOVE your new layout! It looks so good.

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  3. I love this post! I feel the same way. Jeremy's normally the outgoing one who can talk to anyone, and I'm the shy one. You inspire me. I need to be brave too.

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  4. I'm not very good at actually vocalising my thanks for people usually. Especially strangers. But I have taken to saying thank you to people who hold a door or bus drivers or even in restaurants :D

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Thanks for reading! I love reading your thoughts, too :)