I take the bus to work every morning.
Like most people I tune out as much as I can. I've downloaded a Tetris game to my iPod, and nothing quite burns you through a commute like playing a long list of songs and a video game at the same time.
I have a funny new bus driver. She announces almost every intersection like she's surprised she made it that far. "On to Pecos?" she says in a childlike voice as if she's not announcing it but looking for an answer to her own internal question. She's announced cross streets like Cherokee, which made me look up to wonder where the heck I was. It's become a small side joke with some of us riders who smile knowingly at each other because at a stop we've talked about the driver who announces every cross street, big and small. She's very kind though, so I just crank up the iPod if I really don't want to listen to the full running commentary on my journey downtown.
But this morning, we had a new driver. I don't know his name, and I barely listened to him. Come to think of it, he did mention a lot of intersections like our normal new bus driver. I shudder to think if she's out training people. Ha.
Anyway, a younger man got on the bus and sat in front. I noticed him because he appeared to have a mental disability -- perhaps a case of Down Syndrome. I turned my iPod down and listened because he was very animated and excited to talk with the bus driver, and let's face it, we're all spectators to a fun conversation on public transportation.
Well, the Young Man said he was VERY disappointed in Cutler's performance in the game on Sunday where we took a beating from San Diego (Cutler is the new Broncos rookie Quarterback).
The bus driver said "well, we have to blame the whole team, the defense was terrible." To which the kid agreed. "Yeah, the defense was terrible. They scored 40-points against us!"
Then the bus driver said "We have to give the kid a chance (referring to rookie Cutler). He's a lot like John Elway when he was a rookie."
I smiled at what he said, and the bus driver caught me in the mirror nodding at what he said and smiled back.
Well, the bus driver might as well have invoked the name of God Himself. The young man on the bus said "Yeah. Let's give the kid a chance."
I don't know what it is -- perhaps the kindness of the driver, and the young man's love of football and his eagerness to talk to somebody about it, it all just warmed my heart.
I think often of what a cruel world this can be for people with disabilities. All you have to do is see someone in a wheelchair, or walking with a severe limp to make you realize how good you have it in the world when you don't have those problems.
But to see the kindness of the bus driver, who probably sees the gamut of humanity in a day, talk to the kid and share his love of football along with his opinions, just made me happy.
We have a choice not to ignore people different from us. We have a choice to be kind instead of mean.
I try to choose kindness whenever I can. It's something I work on all the time, but I'm hardly perfect. But I do it because in some way, we all have our pains, our trials, and our problems. And even though some people may not realize it, that little kindness can go a long way.