Five years ago, when I had a nine-to-five job, I commuted to work — two to three hours to the office, four to five hours home. I did that every day for three full years. I’ve got the stubs from the bus companies to prove it.
I no longer schlep1 to an office like a regular working Sally, and these days I rarely take the bus anywhere. Although those long, grueling2 hours of traveling are far behind me, I still carry with me the priceless gift of one complete stranger.
It was a warm March evening, and I’d just taken a seat on the bus that would take me home. I sat in the third row, by the window, on the driver’s side. It was nearly 6:00 PM, but the bus was not yet full and the driver gave no indication3 that he intended to get the bus on the road anytime soon.
A middle-aged woman took a seat opposite me. She was crying. Not speaking to anyone in particular, she tearfully narrated4 her story.
She had come to the city to visit her daughter. On the way to the terminal, a thief had snatched5 one of her hags. It had contained half of the money she’d brought with her. The other half was rolled in a hankie and hidden under her blouse, so she fortunately still had some money left.
The bus conductor, driver, and other passengers listened to her tale. After a few minutes, she stopped crying, removed some cheese bread from her bag, and began to eat, worry still knitting her brow.
An old man in tattered6 clothes got on the bus. He sat in the seat directly in front of the woman.
After a few minutes, all seats were taken. The driver got behind the wheel and started the engine. The bus conductor collected tickets and began asking us where we were getting off. When he came to the old man’s seat, he became suspicious and asked the old man whether he had any money. The old man admitted that he did not. He explained that he had spent all his money this morning when he’d accidentally got on the wrong bus and now he was trying to go home.
Upon hearing this, the bus conductor ordered the old man to get off the bus. The old man didn’t budge. He was almost in tears as he begged the bus conductor to let him take that bus so he could get home before dark. The bus driver, who had been listening to exchange, stood up, approached the old man, and repeated the conductor’s command to get off the bus.
The woman seated behind the old man was also listening and observing the incident. When the bus driver and conductor raised their voices at the old man, she interfered.
“Stop harassing7 him! Can’t you see he’s only trying to get home?”
“He doesn’t have any money! ” the driver shouted.
“Well, that’s no reason to throw him off the bus,” she insisted.
Then she said, “How much is his fare?”
The bus conductor mumbled8 the amount.
“Fine,” said the woman. She reached inside her blouse, took out her remaining money, and handed the fares to the bus conductor. “Here’s his fare and mine. Just stop giving him a hard time.”
All eyes turned to the woman, who, just minutes before, had been crying over the money she’d lost.
“It’s only money,” she shrugged.
By the time the bus rolled out of the terminal, she had given the old man bread and a dollar. She rode the rest of the way home wearing a Mona Lisa smile of peace and grace, and the money she’d lost earlier was forgotten.
On the road of life, the chivalry9 and smiles of strangers can lighten our loads and lift our spirits. How much sweeter the journey when we make it a little smoother and richer for others!
2010-04-10 15:06 编辑：kuaileyingyu
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