Sometimes yelling, he talked loudly about all manner of things, throwing some expletives into the mix. Based on the beer cans he had, it was obvious he had had a bit too much to drink. The passengers stared at the ads on the ceiling just as I did, and tried to ignore the man. What could I possibly be learning from riding the city bus?
Before I transferred to Corban, I attended Clackamas Community College (CCC) in Oregon City for three years. While attending there, I rode the city bus to and from classes. Driving in a vehicle from my home only took about 35 minutes, but because of bus transfers and frequent stops, it would often take an hour and a half just to get to the college.
Riding the city bus was a good learning experience for me, and it opened my eyes to misconceptions I had not thought about before. The people that generally ride the bus are often those who cannot afford a car, and the homeless. Also, those who have disabilities will ride. Being around these people several times a week reminded me of the beauty of humanity, and just how well-to-do I myself am. It was humbling and convicting.
One day, there was a blind man who got off the bus and needed to cross the street. The bus driver left the driver’s seat and helped the man across the road. That particular incident touched my heart. Kindness at its best.
Sometimes I would strike up a conversation with someone on the bus. I remember once I asked a woman about a fabric book case she always had. We ended up talking about how much she loved Disney movies, and a guy behind me chimed in as well. We spoke like we were old friends. It was not always like that of course, but the takeaway is that when you show genuine interest in someone, it can make a big difference and brighten up other people’s lives.
Now, living here on campus, even though I do not need to use public buses anymore, I will always remember the experience. At the beginning of my last term at CCC, a couple came on the bus with their baby in a car seat. They sat down in the seats in front of me. I looked directly in front of me, and there was the baby, looking at me. We looked at each other for a moment, and then she smiled. The parents were oblivious. I will never know her name, but that day, on a city bus near Clackamette Park in Oregon City, I had been given a gift – one of many from public transportation.