One of the most inspiring things you can do as a writer is take public transit. No, really. Anyone who has traveled by bus, subway, or train on a regular basis knows that you come across the most interesting people and situations.
The other day, I overheard a conversation that gave me hope for the future. It’s worth sharing.
A small grade-school boy was sitting on a bench at the front of the bus with a much older teenage boy. I originally thought they were together, as they were chatting and wearing similar jackets. But then the teenager moved behind me, to sit beside another grade-school boy.
“You’ll understand this more when you get to high school,” the teenager said to the younger boy. “But you just don’t bully people.”
The young boy mumbled an excuse that I didn’t quite catch–something about how the kid sitting on the bench brought it upon himself.
“That’s how he gets attention,” the teenager said. “He probably doesn’t have any friends, right? That’s how he gets attention. You NEVER bully anyone. They might kill themselves. Lots of nice people have killed themselves because they were bullied.”
As the bus trundled to the teenager’s stop, a group of teenage girls gathered around the young boy sitting on the bench.
“You have such a cute smile,” one of the girls told him. Apparently, the kid sitting behind me had pushed the boy on the bench and taken his Jets cap, which was now back on his head. All of the girls urged the bullied boy not to let such things bother him.
Then they left, and the boy noticed me watching him and smiled. He did have a cute smile. “I don’t even know those people,” he said.
Sometimes it’s worth taking the bus.