37: The Bus

37: The Bus

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More

The Bus

The tie which links mother and child is of such pure and immaculate strength as to be never violated.

~Washington Irving

As I glanced up from my housework to check on my two youngest children, I noticed with a start that two-year-old Sammy was missing. Minutes ago, he had been playing quietly next to his baby sister, Rose, who was sleeping in her stroller. I quickly checked the other upstairs rooms and then ran down the steps to the main floor of the house.

My husband and I and our three children had only just arrived in this large South American city the previous week to work with a group of youth counselors. The youth home where we lived was a large cement house — part of a row of houses with front doors that opened directly onto a busy city sidewalk in a somewhat rough part of town. As I ran down the stairs to the living room, I saw that the front door was open just a crack. I decided I’d better check outside first, before searching the downstairs rooms.

I quickly scanned the area for my missing boy, but he was nowhere in sight. Then I noticed a large city bus parked almost directly in front of me, and a thought came to me that he was on that bus. “That’s crazy,” I reasoned. “There’s no way that a two-year-old could climb up on that bus, and why would he even want to?” But something inside me insisted that I must get onto that bus and look for him there.

So I climbed up into the bus and began walking down the center aisle, calling his name while the people crowded in the seats stared at me curiously. I looked thoroughly from seat to seat until I reached the back of the bus and then went out the back door. He definitely wasn’t there, I thought, so he must have been in one of the back rooms of our house with some of our co-workers. I was about to re-enter the house and search for him there when again I was hit with the feeling that he was on that bus. I had to get back on that bus and look again.

This time, it was getting harder to see, as the sun was almost setting, and the light inside the bus was much dimmer. I peered anxiously into the crowded seats as I repeatedly called for him. I was again in the process of stepping out the back door when I suddenly heard his little voice behind me calling, “Mommy.”

I swung around and there he was, sitting on the lap of a strange woman who was seated in the dim back corner of the bus. I reached over the crowd and grabbed him from her. I raced off that bus and into our house in a stunned daze. As I stood shaking with emotion, I glanced out the window — the bus was already gone!

I learned afterward that it was not uncommon for children — especially blond, blue-eyed children like Sammy — to be stolen and sold. We were told that we would never have found him if he had been taken.

Sometimes, I remember and I shudder with horror for what could have happened. But mostly, I am filled with a sense of awe when I think about that unseen presence that so gently but persistently pushed me to that bus and then insisted that I look again, miraculously leading me to my child in the nick of time.

~Larraine Paquette

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