Okay, I know I mentioned the subway and streetcar yesterday, but something happened today on the bus that I found truly extraordinary.
We were about 15 minutes from the station and I had my nose buried in my newspaper (I know, again!), that is until the bus driver slammed on the brakes and my paper, along with purses, umbrellas … and people … went flying.
“There’s someone under the bus!” someone called out. My heart stopped and suddenly a bus full of strangers were talking to each other.
“What happened?” asked one.
“She jumped,” answered another.
“She must be dead,” said a guy in a ball cap.
“I’m calling 911,” said the driver opening his door.
Then we saw a young guy on the curb helping the woman up. A collective sigh of relief. She was alive.
“The ambulance is on its way, don’t let her leave,” said the driver. And two people left the bus and helped the woman safely to the sidewalk. She looked to be about 30, was wearing a grey trenchcoat, her face as white as chalk and her eyes glazed and staring off into the distance.
One of the women who’d left the bus to check on her put her arm around her, gently rubbed her back and leaned in to talk to her quietly. Another woman and the man in the ball cap stayed with her also. I could hear the murmur of comforting words.
“How are you, driver?” someone called out and everyone laughed … with relief that he’d miraculously stopped in time. “I’m a little shaken up, to be honest,” he said as he called in the incident to his supervisor.
No one left the bus at first, everyone was stunned and I think wanted to make sure the woman was okay. Everyone started chatting with each other, wondering if she was maybe mentally ill or challenged or suicidal.
Then, an Asian lady who’d been waiting for the bus with the woman said she’d been standing behind the pole and darted out, probably trying to cross the street and just hadn’t seen the bus coming.
What was remarkable to me was the way these complete strangers forgot for a minute that they’d been in a rush to get somewhere and put someone else’s safety and well-being first. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.
P.S. Such a great song. Enjoy!