Last Thursday evening I bicycled to the Santa Cruz Metro Bus Station to catch a bus out to Soquel to watch a spoken word event. I arrived five minutes ahead of the scheduled departure, but the bike rack on the front of the bus was already filled to its maximum capacity of three. I queried the bus operator as to the possibility of bringing my bicycle on board since the coach was less than half filled and contained plenty of room. She brusquely denied my request, said it violated policy, and went back to reading her newspaper.
Upset, I shambled away from the bus demoralized by the thought of having to catch a later bus and possibly arriving late at the spoken work event, which meant not only missing some of the oratory but also having to stand because all the seats would be taken. Just then I heard a voice behind me.
“Excuse me,” a young man said, “where are you going?”
I turned around. “Soquel.”
“You can take my spot.”
I was surprised. “Seriously?”
I followed him back to the bus and he removed his bicycle from the rack.
“I really appreciate this,” I told him.
“No problem,” he replied, then he got on his bike and rode away.
I placed my bike onto the newly vacated spot on the rack and entered the bus. “That was really kind of that person,” I said to the driver. “I owe him.”
She continued reading her newspaper as I placed two $1 dollar bills into the cash machine. I sat down and wondered why a passenger would give up his bus ride even though he didn’t have to perform such an act of altruism. I assumed he had a monthly transit pass or he would have been out $2, so at least he didn’t lose any money. Maybe he didn’t have far to go and figured it was just as easy to bicycle to his destination. Perhaps he sympathized with my plight and took pity on me when I was denied passage. Or he was just being kind because he felt it was the right thing to do. Whatever the reason, I will always be gracious for the total stranger who was generous to me in a moment of need. And I made it to the event with plenty of time to spare.
©2020 Robert Kirkendall