I enjoy public transportation. Though it is not as comfortable as being in an owned car or in a cab, and sometimes you have to endure the awkward feeling when almost everyone you encounter stares at you as if to measure up who you are and what you have, there is something that makes me relish each experience. I guess it’s the social interaction, the contact with others—with people who are total strangers to you.
One sunny day, I was in a bus squeezing past others to find a seat. The bus was full of people who were obviously in a hurry to get to their destination. I couldn’t get a seat so I just held on to one of the rail handles. I noticed there were males seated but no one cared to give his seat to me or the other girls standing. No more gentlemen today, I told myself.
About three seats away from me was an old man, his face brown and lined with wrinkles. He stood up, motioned for me to come, and offered his seat. I hesitated to accept his offer because I saw he had a cane. I knew he needed to be seated more than I did. But he was insistent so I smiled at him, accepted the seat he was offering me, and thanked him. The trip lasted almost 2 hours because traffic was bad, it was rush hour. I thanked the old man again when we got off at the bus stop. He just smiled back at me. I watched him walk away slowly, his every step aided by his cane.
In today’s busy and hurried world, I wonder how often this kind of thing happens in a day, how often does someone pause for a while and take advantage of the opportunities to help others, to make others feel better and comfortable. I think of that day and remember the old man who gave me his seat and stood for 2 hours in spite of his weak knees, a beautiful stranger who reached out to me one sunny day.