The Bus Stop

The Bus Stop

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Create Your Best Future

The Bus Stop

Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.

~Rosa Parks

This particular day began as usual. I got up, got dressed and headed for work.

I walked the usual four long blocks to the bus stop.

As I arrived, the same old faces were in the old same places. I kept to myself and attempted to avoid all eye contact. I was determined not to engage any of them in conversation. In the past, nothing any one of them had said was truly of any consequence. So I stood in back of the bus bench and leaned against the wall.

I didn’t have to look for the bus because the others each took turns leaning over to look for it.

Late again, I thought to myself.

So there I was at the bus stop with all those losers who didn’t have lives or cars. I justified my place among this particular crowd: I would have had a car and a better job, if my dad hadn’t run out on us, making it impossible for me to go to college. If I had gone to college, then I wouldn’t be at this bus stop.

I looked around and noticed the white couple in their early sixties, who dressed alike every day. They sat extremely close together. They were probably afraid of us. They spoke constantly in some foreign language.

I looked over at the man I referred to as the “Dirty Old Man.” He always made dirty remarks. No one paid attention to him. Besides, he still wore leisure suits. I’m sure he was Mr. Personality back in the day. He and the older couple who appeared to be joined at the hip always sat in the exact same seats.

Daily I could count on a variety of strangely dressed, loud, ignorant-acting teenage boys at the bus stop. These teenagers made a point to speak loudly enough for everyone within a block to hear every word of their conversation. I don’t know why someone didn’t tell them to shut up.

Then there was the “Book Worm,” a girl with thick glasses. Daily she wore an oversized jacket that probably belonged to her brother. She never spoke to anyone, and she never looked up from her book and that was fine with me.

There was the “Music Man,” a man in his early thirties. He wore the largest sunglasses on the planet and some kind of uniform. His earphones appeared to be attached to his head. He would blast the music so loud that you could hear it five feet away.

Lastly, there was an older woman about seventy-five. She wore a purple scarf over her head every day rain or shine. She and I leaned against the wall. She stared at me, but we never spoke. I was sure that she was a domestic worker.

Now on this particular day, I wondered why the bus people couldn’t be as well groomed as I was. I wondered if they were Christians like me. I wondered if there was a reason we were always there together.

My thoughts were interrupted by the terrifying screech of skidding tires; the sound appeared to come from out of nowhere. My eyes frantically searched back and forth attempting to determine the source. Suddenly, there was a loud, horrific crash. The impact felt like a bomb, it shook everyone. Right in front of our eyes two cars collided, and one began to spin in a circle, totally out of control. The screeching became louder and louder. Everyone began to scream as the car came out of the spin and headed directly toward the bus bench and all of us.

Within a flash and without a thought for their welfare, the teenage boys, who just moments before I had called ignorant, grabbed the old man and the couple sitting on the bench and pulled them to safety. The Music Man, instead of running to get out of the way of the speeding car himself, risked his life by running over and pulling the girl reading the book out of the path of the oncoming car.

As the car jumped the curb, barely missing the teenage boys, it plowed through the cement bus bench and debris flew into the air. All I could see was a cloud of smoke heading right toward me. I closed my eyes and said, “Lord, please save me.” I felt someone tugging on my right arm; I felt my feet fly off the ground. The back of my head was smashed into the wall, and I lost consciousness for a few moments.

When I finally opened my eyes, all I could see was the hood of a car right in my face, and I could feel the bumper pressing against me. The car was so close that I could see the face of the unconscious driver behind the steering wheel.

One of the teenage boys was holding my arm. He was pinned against the wall by the bumper of the car. He had risked his life to pull me from the fatal path of the car.

Immediately, I looked to my left and I saw a hole in the wall. Then I remembered the old lady who was standing next to me. I looked for her and saw that she had been hit by the car and smashed through the wall. I reached over to touch her. She looked at me and reached for my hand.

She asked, “Are you okay, honey?” as sweetly as if she were my grandmother instead of a familiar stranger at the bus stop. I said, “Yes,” somewhat disbelievingly as I was certainly in shock and had not yet performed an overall assessment of my well-being.

She smiled and said, “Thank God.” This was the first time we had ever spoken, in all our days at the bus stop.

Then, in a soft voice just above a whisper, she said to me, “I have watched you for months, and it made me so proud to see you looking so sharp and going to your important job. I’m so happy that you are safe.”

I told her that help was on the way, but it was too late. She tenderly squeezed my hand, drew her last breath, and I felt her hand slowly slip away from mine. She closed her eyes as her head lowered. She looked so peaceful; I knew she was gone.

A pain shot through my heart. I couldn’t breathe. We couldn’t have been more than a foot away from each other. I was spared while she was taken. I kept asking myself why I hadn’t spoken to her while I had the chance. She was proud of me even though I never even bothered to say hello or wish her a good morning. What kind of person am I? What kind of Christian am I? I didn’t even know her name.

All the bus people, who just moments before I had called unintelligent and losers in my mind, had all clearly displayed genuine character and heroics. Without giving any thought to their own safety, they all responded, put their lives on the line and helped each other to safety. They literally saved the day.

Since then, I have learned to respect and love people, no matter what their station is in life — or what I may think their station is.

I continue to walk the four long blocks to the bus daily.

Only the walk doesn’t seem as long because I know when I get there my friends at the bus stop will be waiting for me.

~DeAnna Blaylock

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