April 10, 2009

It's gone....right out of my hand!

It happened in a second, as his small hands brushed roughly against mine. Immediately I felt instant possessiveness, like the smallest child must feel when another takes his/her toy. It's instinctive, "Hey! it's mine!!" I didn't speak those words but I felt them. For milliseconds I sat paralysed in shock, stunned, not moving from my seat on the 38 Bus at 220 Street. Then I jumped to my feet, rushing to tell the driver what had happened! As he reached for his phone we silently watched the boy of 12 or 13 dressed in jean shorts and a white tee dash across the bus way and across US 1.

Was it his adrenaline flowing that made him fly? Or maybe it was the excitement of holding my iPhone in his hand that caused him to run so hard with a strong, long stride, holding his head high. He could run track I thought. He was gone in seconds, melting into a back street. No one would chase after him. He disappeared. It was then I noticed the people on the bus were yelling,

"Hey!! You going to start this ___________bus or not!!??" I turned to a sea of impatient angry faces discussing what had happened.

"I..I'm very sorry for the delay!" I called out softly as I dropped to my Rosa Park seat. I always try to sit there, I want to sit in a seat named for such a brave woman. A kind girl stepped forward and handed me her phone to use. Then, like a herd of cattle, the crowded bus was suddenly emptying, people pushing against one another's backs, hoping to make the 38 bus that had pulled up along side our bus...they exited grumbling, even the man in the wheel chair. There was no hero to run after the boy, it was just a cell phone, and who needs such a fancy phone.

Two people remained on the bus. I handed the phone back to the nice girl and told her thanks. She was sorry for me as she rushed for the other bus. Returning to the driver I encouraged him to move on, those two people had somewhere to go! I grasped the plexiglass that separated us.

"Did you see him? He was just a boy!" My chest felt heavy. That boy looked just like M., a foster child. Mary, his case manager worries everyday that the child will end up on a wrong path. She NEVER stops working on his behalf, she wants a good life for him. I burst into tears...not just the kind you shed when sad but I wept deeply.
"Where is this boy's mother? Who gives him dinner and teaches him truth?? Who believes he can make right decisions and tells him so! Did you see him???! Oh he was just a boy!" The driver nods but is silent and lets me weep unashamedly in the front of the 38!
"I am sorry that happened Mommy" Finally he speaks, then gently chides me about how people are and how you should never openly show something like an iPhone. Yes, everyone will say that to me I am sure, others will say the bus is not safe.
"We could ride all the way to your stop and not one person would say a hello! Oh Mommy, people are not nice! They are not!" I object immediately as he vehamently shakes his head. "Mommy did you see the blind lady? She only rode two stops, but no one, NOT ONE gave her a seat!...people are not nice!!"
"A blind lady??!...No..where was she?! I didn't see her!" Then he tells me where she was standing, it was about a foot from me. Me.... Miss Nicey-Nice let the blind lady stand. I felt sad and started to cry once again.
I rode pretty much all the way to Homestead weeping, laughing and telling the bus driver I didn't want to become jaded or fearful about people, that would be the worst thing to happen to me. We talked about Easter and the message of true love and goodness. He gave me his hankerchief, at times his own eyes become watery, he even offered to give me his phone.
I loved my iPhone, and it is wrong to steal. I am not excusing the child. But I was a victim of a crime because I broke all my own rules...I was not careful, nor vigilant nor did I look at the people on the bus, something I always do! What are their stories...what will we learn from one another on this ride (corny...for sure) But there s always good with the bad. And this day is no exception. Jim is waiting...even without receiving the text I was writing him as my phone was snatched away. Always waiting, always there. And as we came to a stop I asked the driver,
"But the boy....that was sad, don't you think?" The bus driver nods yes, he tells me he doesn't meet many good people like me. I shake my head and tell him he does, everyday, people like him.

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