Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Good vs. Bad

It's amazing to me how much my attitude on any given day can give me either a better outlook on the world, or a worse one.

I honestly believe that sometimes one's day can be brightened just by trying to see the little good things in the world when the worst seems to be happening.

But this morning on my bus ride to work, a little girl who looks to be in the first grade -- and her Mom with her infant baby -- all got on the bus as they do at 50th & Federal, and got off a few blocks away. The little girl as she boarded the bus noticed me, as I've smiled at her in the past. This morning she smiled at me and said "good morning."

She's beyond cute. Her Mom does her hair every day, and she wears pink head to toe, including a large Barbie backpack with a water bottle in it, which looks like if you overloaded it, she'd be stuck on her back like a turtle flipped on its shell. You can tell by looking at this little family that they are happy together. Mom, who has two little ones, smiles often and speaks kindly to her girls. Given what I've been through, it's hard to see parents talk sternly to their children -- even if I can understand they're tired, or the kid is being particularly demanding. When I see someone give their children love and attention, it just warms my heart.

Then there was the punk rocker kid who gets on closer to 38th & Navajo. The new bus driver almost missed him today since he had to take a detour, and I mentioned it to him so he could honk at the kid down the block since the bus missed the stop. Punk rocker kid is about 16 or so, dressed head to toe in black, and wears his bangs completely covering his eyes, so you can't see the first thing of what he looks like from his nose up. But as he ran to to catch the bus today, he smiled and thanked the bus driver for stopping. I love it when I see kids like that who are dressed to impress with their rebellion, but are just good kids at heart.

Then there was the old guy with a missing leg who got on the bus with his friend. People in Denver move to help make space for him. I got up and moved the seats up out of the way so the driver wouldn't have to come back to do it. Small kindnesses on everyone's part. The guy in the chair thanked people for making room for him as he came on board.

I often ride the free 16th Street bus in the afternoon during my lunch hour. My favorite thing is listening to tourists talk about Denver. Sometimes when someone is trying to find something, I'll let them know where it is. I'll ask where they're from, and often it's Kansas City or some other Western/Midwestern town, and sometimes it's someone like the Indian man who asked me where "Arapahoe" was who I had to stop and think a minute because of the way he mispronounced it. I love helping people get a good image of Denver, because it's my adopted city, and the people who welcomed me here did all the same things I did.

The very first time I bought a Denver map, I stood on a street corner and looked at it, trying to figure out my bearings. A man on a bike stopped and said "Can I help you find something?" and I said "No, I'm just new to Denver and wanted to find out where I am on this thing." To which he answered "Welcome to Colorado!"

There are times like this that I'm glad I ride the bus to work. Yes, we get the occasional guy who wants to ride for free, or worse, at 9 a.m., seeing someone waver on board as they get on the bus reeking of liquor at that hour. But generally speaking, I run into good people on the bus every day.

This is a good town. With good people in it. I only wish that more people here would take that pride.

Because it's all true.

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