The bus was really crowded on Tuesday. Unsurprisingly, as it was rush hour in a very congested city.
Boarding with a couple of bags of groceries (went in for milk, came out with toothbrushes and chickpeas) I wrestled down the vehicle to take an aisle seat facing the back window. Of the back row of seats in front of me, two were free, one opposite the aisle (and easily accessible) and one in the corner to my left – blocked by three sets of knees, including my own, and a woman who was perching her own shopping in the space.
At the next stop two young girls got on the bus, I assume they were sisters probably around 8 and 12 years old. The elder plopped down on the accessible aisle seat and points to the awkward space, looks at the younger one and demanded ‘sit there’. The vulnerable look on the little one’s face was one I recognised.
When I was her age I was afraid of going down escalators. I remember being frozen at the top of one, seeing my mum and sister at the bottom encouraging me to come down whilst all I could imagine was tumbling over and getting chewed by the shiny metal teeth feeding the mouth at the base. Right before panic took hold an older lady came up behind me, took my hand and escorted me down.
Back on the bus, I saw the woman who rested her bags on the seat lazily glide them onto her lap so I stood up, moved onto the awkward seat and gestured to the girl to sit in my now vacant space. Whilst all around appeared to wilfully keep their blinkers on, the shock on the child’s face made me think that we need more of this. More awareness, and willingness. How much better would this world be, how much more love would be freely shown if we paid attention and actually performed those acts of kindness instead of just thinking them, silently berating others for not doing anything or worse thinking ‘should have’ after the fact.
The lady who helped me down the escalator is still in my mind. I repay her by paying that kindness forward. As I’ve learnt in class this term, love is the natural in between. The more I think it, the more I see it and the more I’m part of it.