Looking after kids at a city camp is not walk in the park. Having to keep them entertained all the time is more of a roller coaster ride. Doing it day after day from morning to evening can be pretty taxing. When Friday evening came along I was seriously glad to have the weekend off. And it wasn’t just the kid care that wore me out. Problems with one of the administrators came along and I found out from my sister that there had been some gossip circulating about me. I had shrugged it away because it was not the time and place for drama.
So that evening I just went home, almost dreading having to go back on Monday for another week at camp. I stopped by my grandma’s place to pick up my stuff (I’d been staying with her as it was closer to work than my place) and went out to catch the bus.
Just as I got out of the building the bus rolled along, which was not good news as the bus stop was a good walk away. I knew that even if I took off running I wasn’t going to make it, especially with the heavy backpack on my back. But human instinct is stronger than human reason and the minute I saw the bus I was running, despite the fact that my brain was yelling at me not too. I watched the people come in and then I expected the doors to close and for me to not make it. But that’s when the miracle happened.
An interesting fact of life is people often attribute miracles to something big and supernatural, impossible even. Of course when a blind person gets his sight back or a deaf person can hear, it is, without a doubt, a miracle. But that wasn’t the sort of miracle I got on that defeated Friday evening. It was a smaller miracle, though in my mind it was no less great or supernatural.
The bus driver saw me running and waited. He had a schedule to keep, the bus had to be at the next stop in so many minutes, but he chose to wait. I arrived breathless, hopped inside and thanked the driver. He nodded his head and pulled out.
It was just a small gesture from his side. He didn’t know I was having a rough day, he didn’t know I had a rough week. I was just a random girl to him, one of thousands who rode his bus that day. But something caused him to wait those two minutes it took me to get to the bus doors. There was no logical reason for him to do it, and that was the miracle.
In my mind, human kindness and human compassion are one of the greatest miracles God ever gave to mankind. Two things that cannot be fully explained by reason, by logic, by intelligence. We can’t say why some people never bother and some people always do. Why do some bus drivers just follow the time and drive off and why do some turned a blind eye to the clock and wait? What is it that causes a person to lend a hand or turn the cold shoulder?
Working at the camp, we didn’t get our meals because for some reason they weren’t included in the budget. The idea was we bring our own food, but finding time to eat when you’ve got kids to keep out of trouble easier said than done. We would take them to have their meals at a little Greek cafeteria and stand around while they ate and keep the peace. When the owner noticed we fed the kids but never ate ourselves he asked us if we would like something and my sister (who was working with me) had to explain that our meals weren’t covered and we didn’t have the money to buy our own food there twice a day for two weeks. He nodded his head and walked off. Later the waiter brought us a type of Greek pizza and declared it was on the house. We were of course touched and grateful, figuring it was a kind gesture for this day.
Not by a long shot. The next day they fed us again, and then again, and I can honestly say I had one free meal a day at that restaurant for the entire first week of camp.These people were total strangers to us, yet something in them, something beautiful and unexplainable made them forget about profit and money.
That is human kindness in its purest form. A form we often overlook. We know and remember the grand acts of kindness. The hero who saved a kid from a burning fire, who pulled the biker out from under the burning car, that always stays in our memory. And yet how easy is it to forget about the bus driver who waited a few extra minutes so you wouldn’t have to wait half an hour for the next bus. Forget about that fellow in the metro who didn’t sit down because he saw you out of the corner of his eye and decided to let you have the seat. Forget to say thank you for the free meals because we were so busy fussing over rowdy children and personal problems.
So we forget and say the world is a miserable place and we hate it.
But matter how much we hate it, no matter how much we complain that we’ve lost hope for humanity, there are a few people who haven’t. And they remind us of what our life and what humans have to offer.
I’m not saying the world is perfect, I’m not saying there is no injustice or cruelty. There is. I am witness to it every day. And yet I feel that all to often we focus on the bad, focus for so long that we don’t see the good. But what is worse, we don’t contribute to the good.
Maybe the world is in the state it is not because so many evil men are destroying it, but because the good people are letting them.
What did you do today to make the world beautiful?
(photo courtesy of pixabay)