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  •  On the bus: taking money from a disabled woman (22+ / 0-)

    True story: I saw this transpire this morning on my commute. You never know what you're going to see on the bus.  

    It was another rainy morning as the Northwest bears the brunt of the season's first strong North Pacific storm. I boarded the bus for my commute into downtown Portland. The bus was lightly populated, as I had worked from home for a couple of hours before coming in so I could miss the morning rush.

    The next stop after I boarded, a heavy-set Hispanic woman clambered aboard. She shook the rain off her umbrella as she plopped down on the seats in the front of the bus, which are posted as reserved for the elderly or disabled. I noticed seated a few seats behind her a tall African-American man in a blue cap. There were perhaps a dozen other riders scattered throughout the bus.

    Several stops later, a slightly disabled person with a rolling shopping cart (those little two-wheeled things) and quad cane (a cane with four little feet for added stability) struggled to board the bus. She was an older, Caucasian woman, probably headed to the Safeway grocery in downtown Portland. The Hispanic woman, seeing that a disabled person was boarding, stood up and moved back a row, directly in front of the African-American man.

    First thing -- surrendering your seat for someone truly in need without being asked.
    The older woman finally was on board, spoke briefly with the driver, and moved slowly to the just-vacated seat without paying fare. The bus moved on.

    The older woman seemed to be fumbling with something. The African-American man, noticing what I could not see from my perspective, gestured at her. The Hispanic woman, seeing his gesture, bent down and retrieved a dollar bill the older woman inadvertently had dropped, handing it back to her.

    Second thing -- people watching out for someone less able.
    A moment later, the African-American man suddenly stood up, walked up to the older woman, holding out his hand as he towered over her. The older woman looked at him and carefully laid two dollar bills in his palm. He then went to the driver, placed the bills in the fare box, retrieved her one-day pass receipt, handed it to her with a smile, and returned to his seat...all so she wouldn't have to struggle to her feet and walk a few unsteady steps to the fare box as the bus lurched down the street.
    Third thing -- helping those who need it, mutual trust between strangers, and a smile.
    Speaking for myself, I felt better for having ridden the bus today.

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