Every once in a while I have these experiences that just affirm life. Today was one of those days. As you have read previously time and time again, I drive a public transit bus/van for our county. Well, this morning I received a call from dispatch to go to one of our local thrift or charity stores and pick up a rider and take him to the county line, which incidently, is as far as our bus travels. So I went to pick him up. I was confronted by a young man about 19 or 20. He was carrying one shoe and sock in his hand and hobbled across the street and climbed aboard my bus. The thrift store had given him two dollars for the fare to the county line, which he paid me. He apologized for the "one shoe off, one shoe on" but had stepped on a rusty nail and it had gone through his sneaker and jabbed his foot. He had been hitchhiking trying to get to the major city to our east. He had no backpack, no change of clothes, no money, except for 75 cents and of course the two dollars for bus fare. I asked him where he was going. He said he was trying to get to Florida where his family was. When we got to the county line, where I was picking up another regular rider, the other county's transit driver refused to haul him on into the next county without permission from their dispatcher. He got on the radio and asked if he could transport this young man. They said "how are we getting paid?" The young man had no money. I explained that to the driver, and he said that they would have to be paid. The dispatcher came back on and said that she "guessed they could transport into the town, but not to the next county line," which would have put him close to the big city. In the big city, he had a contact with a "Father Tom" at a Catholic mission who was going to help him get a bus ticket to Florida.
I thought about it for about 10 seconds, and gave the driver the young man's fare so the dispatcher would not have a hissy fit. I took one look at the young man and thought, this could be my son or daughter trying to get home. I had a coin purse in my pocket full of silver change. I suppose that there was about $4.00 worth of change in it that I use for pop and treats while I am working, but something told me to give this guy the change. I handed it to him and told him to keep it and buy himself something to eat. This 6' 2 or taller young fellow stood there with tears running down his face and all he could say was "thank you." He shook my hand, and climbed aboard the other county's bus and pulled away.
I have had this young man on my mind all day. I wonder how he is doing. I don't know if he was honest, or "fleeced" me, and I don't care. But something in my heart tells me that I did the right thing.
Later in the day, my daughter-in-law was T-Boned at one of our busiest intersections. It totalled her new car, and caused the air bags to deploy. She and her passenger were unscathed. I know a higher power was watching over them both. Tonight as I write this, I know "Sistah" is safe at home, but I wonder how safe and sound my morning rider is.