You know sometimes in life you find yourself in the most random situations. I’m not sure but these random adventures always find me or I find them, some for the good, some for the bad and some for the funny. It’s not an everyday experience or is it? But all I can do is laugh!
Traveling to an unknown city or place is hard enough let alone navigating public transportation… Well I’m always up for an adventure… However, it’s usually a bit more planned.
I was in San José California for Blogher conference and people recommended that I go to Santana Row. It was a great outdoor, shopping area full of restaurants and cafés. Hello shopping! I was on it! I had time while I was waiting for my friend’s flight to come in! I figured I would scope it out, shop, and find a place for us to have a delicious lunch.
I showered, got dressed and ready and left the room. I had read on the Fairmont web page that Santana Row was about 3 miles away from the hotel and there was a “shuttle”! I asked the concierge how to get to Santana Row and he told me to walk to the end of the block for the “bus”. I didn’t think much of it since there were 4 hotels at the end of the block. I guess I thought it was a “shuttle bus” for all the hotel in that area!
I looked up the Bus time online and then waited for the “shuttle bus” to come and I got on. The driver said… “2 dollars please” in his broken English. I said, “do you have change for a ten”? He said, “No, do you want to buy a $10 dollar pass”? I said “no” and he said, “Just get on”. Since I’m a fabulous listener! I did just that! I turned the corner and walked further onto the bus. There was no turning back… or getting off.
Oh boy! This was no way a “shuttle bus” for the hotels! It was the city bus! The CITY BUS!
All of the seats were filled with passengers all shapes, sizes, ages, and I stood out to them. It was obvious I didn’t belong and I had no clue where I was going!
As I looked around waving my $10 dollar bill asking if anyone had change so I can pay for my bus fair, no one spoke up. They just looked at me as if I was some kind of cute and adorable alien from a different planet. And oh was I…
I thought wow these San José people are so rude? No one has change? Seriously? So I asked again, “Seriously no one has change for a $10?” I mean I wasn’t asking for anyone’s first born! I was asking for c.h.a.n.g.e for my $10 dollar bill. Finally, after my 3 time asking the fellow passengers of the “City Bus” an older women spoke up and said, “that’s gonna be hard to find change for… sweetie”! Well, no shit I thought to myself.
I carefully looked around the “City Bus” looking carefully and not too long at everyone. No one understood me in my quest to find change for my $10 dollar bill. They weren’t being rude they couldn’t understand me. I was an alien to them. They were just people trying to survive in this world. Just like I was trying to survive on the CITY BUS!
The bus drove down the street stopping to pick up and drop off passengers at each stop. The bus was completely full with only standing room left. I was lucky enough to find a seat next to the homeless woman with all her bags and her shopping bag full of toilet paper rolls. Bless her heart. Each time we stopped to pick up passengers I asked the newest passengers like a broken record as the walked by me for change for my $10 dollar bill. And No one had change for my poor $10 dollar bill.
A gentleman with dirty cloths & hands, some facial scrub, with broken English handed me the $2 dollars bus fair. A total stranger who couldn’t speak English placed the $2 dollar bus fair in my hand. I was shocked a perfect stranger gave me money. I said, “thank you so much sir, but I can’t take your money”. He didn’t understand me and kept trying to get me to take it but I couldn’t. I could tell he was a hard worker and he worked hard for his money. I was shocked by his kindness to help a total stranger who didn’t need his money. I didn’t ask again for change for my $10 dollar bill. I figured I would just buy the $10 dollar pass and leave it with the driver in case someone else didn’t have the $2 dollar bus fair. And just then the mom, dad and a toddler girl who were sitting across from me reached in their wallets and turns out they had change for me!
Kindness! I was amazed that strangers would go out of their way for others. At the next stop a gentleman in a wheelchair and his caregiver got on the bus. Four people had to get out of there seats so the gentleman could board! No one commented, complained, or said a word. They just got up and moved. One of the up routed passengers was an elderly woman with a cane and an elderly man. I got up and gave the elderly women my seat and stood. She smiled and thanked me as she touched my hand and said, “Don’t get old dear. It sucks”.
And the next few stops went just like that. Kind of like musical chairs. People got on and people got off! And the kindness for others was amazing. I had no clue I was getting on the “City Bus” but I’m glad I did. Kindness still exists in the world sometimes in most random places but if you keep your eyes open & your heart open you’ll find it! And that makes me happy!