Sunday, December 29, 2013

BUS STORY # 373 (Some Kids These Days)

We’re picking up a wheelchair rider. The driver activates the lift, then goes and pulls up the bench seat where the chair will be going. Once the rider is aboard, he wheels quickly into place and reaches down for the front straps himself. The driver finishes with the rear strap, then heads back up to his seat.

The rider gets the front straps hooked up just fine, but he seems to be having some kind of problem. It looks like it might be with tightening up the slack.

A kid boards the bus after the lift has retracted back into place. He looks late high school, maybe older. Backpack. He swipes his pass, then turns toward the back. He notices the wheelchair guy bent forward and fooling with the straps. The bus is already underway when he squats down, says something to the wheelchair guy, and the wheelchair guy sits back up. The kid does something -- it sounds like he’s cranking something, like a manual wind-up device -- and then he stands up and takes the bench seat across the aisle.

Later on, we get to the place where the wheelchair rider is getting off. I can see an old guy waiting by the bus stop sign. He starts to move toward the door when it opens, but the driver calls out for him to wait. Then he activates the lift.

The wheelchair guy has already disconnected himself from the front straps and is working on the back one when the driver finishes the job for him. The driver follows the wheelchair toward the front, but he leaves the bench seat up against the wall.

Once the wheelchair has reached the sidewalk and the lift has once again been fully retracted, the old guy waiting starts to board. He’s got a cane, and he’s slow and a bit unsteady.

He puts his change in the till, then turns to find a seat. Just as he realizes the bench seat is up, the driver starts to pull out. The old man catches a pole and braces himself.

The kid sitting on the bench seat behind the driver -- the same kid who helped tighten the front straps for the wheelchair guy -- jumps up and pulls down the bench seat, then helps the old guy over to it.

I’m feeling like I should go up front and say something to him, acknowledge what he did and thank him. Something. But then I think that would probably only embarrass him. He doesn’t deserve that, and so I leave it alone. But, hey, kid, thanks. And, yeah, it’s a big deal.


The photo at the top of this story is downloaded from the website for the City of Charlottesville; Customer Service: Paratransit.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an amazing kid. Not only kind, but knowledgable.
Possibly a wheel chair user in his family.
Thanks for the positive, feel-good story

7:24 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

You're welcomes, and thank you, Anonymous. I think there are a lot more kids like this than we might believe.

4:54 PM  

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