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Thursday, November 13, 2014

"The Bus Driver"

Today's post is quite different than our normal fare for we're going to tell a story and it has really nothing to do with money and finance and economic/political concerns..

But as simple as the story appears on the surface, there is like all fables, tales and 'once upon a times', a deeper meaning which some will pick up and understand and others may not

So here we go, and have a nice Thursday..

 'The Bus Driver'

It was a cool spring early Monday morning in the big city..  That early hour of dawn when its just not quite barely sunrise and even a tall cup of coffee has yet kicked in, but onward to work, school and everyday lives, people must go..

But that day was a little different than the others for the passengers who took Bus #22, though if you asked any of them at the time, you would have elicited confusion and a blank stare or two..

But different it was..

A new bus driver had taken over weekday responsibilities:  A perfect square going 3 miles in each direction with many little stops along the way:  Southbound on 4th street then a left going west on Mulberry, then another left going northward on 17th St and a last left finishing the route eastward on Elm.

The bus driver would say a warm friendly hello to each person who entered the bus and an equally friendly, sincere 'have a nice day' when they'd depart..  And no one knew how to react..

The common response among the passengers was dead silence; heads faced forward and on or off the bus the commuters would go..
Day 2 of the bus driver's employ and the same response would be expressed when people boarded..  "Hello" and "Nice to see you.."  or "Enjoy your day" when departing and the reaction from the regulars of Bus #22 would be the same..

Nothing.   Just..  silence.

Months passed..  Early Spring gave way to the beauty of full blossom,followed by Summer in all its warm delights..

And every weekday without fail the bus driver would greet everyone getting on and off, and did so with the same cheeriness and sincerity as was expressed that very first day.

The regulars by this time had gotten used to this greeting and even though they stayed true to their set outward ways and did not show any emotion or acknowledged response, one could tell that it had gotten to the point where the greetings were just expected.

It became as much a  take for granted ritual to an early morning as chirping birds or that freshly rolled newspaper lying on the doorstep
One morning as the first coolness of eventual Autumn mixed with the breeze, the passengers of Bus #22 went aboard and were startled by what they saw..  a different bus driver.

There were no 'Hellos'.. No 'Have a Lovely Day's..  Just silence; a driver doing a job

Most didn't take too much of a thought beyond initial surprise because the assumption was that the friendly driver would resume work the next day..

Except that next day did not come..  Days.. Weeks..  Time passed and it was clear to all that the bus driver was not coming back to resume duties..

No one outwardly admitted it to each other but collectively they felt some sadness and loss..  Some even took time from their busy day to contact the bus station terminal and inquire what happened to the driver..

Taken ill?  Moved away?

And no response could be given because the manager sincerely did not know..
Months passed and now it was the Christmas season.

One frigidly cold December afternoon, one of the regulars of Bus #22 used her lunch break to walk to the local department store to buy a present for a friend..

And as she approached the cosmetics counter, to her surprise and admitted delight, she saw the former bus driver who was as genuinely friendly at that moment as all the days worked on that perfect square bus route.

And the woman found herself for the first time overtly friendly back..

She asked "I am sorry if I am prying but..  What happened?  Why did you stop driving the bus?"

The former driver smiled though with a touch of melancholy and replied "Only so many times a person can say to people "Nice to see you" and "Have a good day"  and get no response and well.. not have it sour them"

The woman could only nod and smile back guiltily..

"So.."  continued the former driver.. "It was time for a change"

The woman nodded softly and expressed "Of course"
The purchase was completed and each continued on with their day and their life except on the bus ride home, the woman upon entering the bus and climbing the stairs, greeted the driver with a "Hello" to which the man behind the wheel looked momentarily stunned..

And responded with "Hi" back..

The woman walked to her seat, sat down by the window and looked out with a quiet contented face, while noticing the bright and cheerful Christmas displays aligning the store fronts

And some of the other regulars of Bus #22, overhearing the pleasant exchange reflected individually and collectively in their quiet thoughts..

"Tomorrow morning.. I just may say 'Hello' as well"