Thanks For The Lift!

004While waiting for the bus I never pay enough attention to the cars that go by to recognize any. I’m at the same bus stop at the same time most days of the week so chances are good that some of the same people go by. I just don’t notice them and chances are good they don’t notice me either unless one of us is doing something unusual.

I was literally seconds late getting to the bus stop. I saw the doors close and the bus pull away. I started running. Remember the scene in The Graduate where Dustin Hoffman chases a bus until it gets to the next stop? That was me and that was my plan. There was a red light up ahead. If I could get there while the bus was waiting I could get on.

Then the light turned green.

I kept running. There was another green light up ahead. If it turned red before the bus went through I could catch up to it and get on then. I was a pretty good runner and it looked like I was going to make it.

It only turned red after the bus had gone through. I stood on the corner panting. Then I heard a voice to my left.

“You tryin’ to catch the bus?”

There was a guy in a compact car stopped at the light. He had his window down.


“Climb in. I’ll get you there.”

Now was the time to ask myself a serious question. Should I wait twenty minutes for the next bus or take a chance on a ride with a complete stranger?

I took a chance. His name was Mike and he’d seen me running. When he saw I wasn’t going to make it he felt bad for me. He explained all this as he deftly passed the bus and managed to get three blocks ahead of it. He pulled over at a bus stop.

“Have a good day!”

Thanks to Mike it was a good day. I thanked him profusely and only realized after he’d sped away that I hadn’t thought to notice what he was driving. Maybe I see Mike every day and don’t realize it. I wish I knew so I could wave at him as he went by.

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  1. Gilly Maddison

    What a nice guy. I think most people in the world are nice but maybe too scared to show it to total strangers or, to even trust total strangers the way you did. Nice story.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The social contract is a funny thing. I wonder how much rests on assumptions. There have been a few times when I’ve been driving and seen a person I recognize from the bus waiting at a bus stop and I’ve been tempted to pull over and offer them a ride. I don’t know how they’d respond.
      Of course an annoying thing is I’m usually in heavy traffic so if I tried to stop I’d cause several wrecks.

  2. cindy dorminy

    Nice guy. Pay it forward.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Very nice guy, and that’s exactly what I should do. I try to find ways to give back.

  3. educationalmentorship

    That’s very trusting! Sometimes taking a chance on people has positive results. It reminds me of once being totally lost in the train station, and asking a stranger for help. Turns out he lived in the building across from mine, and let me go with him through the train station, onto the subway, then walked me to my building before crossing the road to his. Otherwise, I’d still be in that damned train station…

  4. tripping

    I once accepted a ride from a stranger to the airport. I was stranded on a street corner in Edmonton with six weeks worth of luggage and a dead cellphone. It was Canada Day and I had faith in the kindness of strangers.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s a great thing to be able to put faith in the kindness of strangers, and, at least in my experience, most strangers are kinder than I expect.

  5. Gina

    It’s so easy to get cynical and then moments like this remind me not to lose faith in humanity. On Saturday we went to the ballet and it took a long time to get out of the parking garage. Still, it was nice to see that people were kind and took turns merging into the main line of traffic. I told my son that if were in some place like New York City it would probably be more like, “every man for himself”.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s funny you mention New York because several years ago when I was there everybody was really nice to me, but, yeah, most of the time it is pretty brutal, even to tourists. I think I just got lucky. Down here of course we have Southern hospitality.

  6. Ann Koplow

    Sounds like you both gave each other a lift. Nice work all around.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I hadn’t thought of it that way but I do hope I gave him a lift. Every good deed deserves one in return.


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