Using public transportation is quite an experience in cultural diversity. I am not just talking about ethnicity or race. There are many different types of people who ride the bus. There are your professionals dressed to the nine tightly gripping their laptop case listening to their iPods before heading to their high stress downtown jobs. There are the grungy pajama wearing hair brushless kids heading to high school or college. In the back you’ll find the stereotypical inner city gang banging drug dealers. For the most part they behave them selves, but occasionally they’ll get tired of the drunk homeless man next to them running his mouth, and a fight will break out. For this reason we almost always sit in the front near the bus driver. Also in the front are the cognitively impaired young adults heading back to their group home after a day of shopping or long day at work. They are usually chatty eagerly telling you about the details of their day, and what they are eating for dinner. This is also where the wheel chair users and others with physical disabilities ride. Lastly, there is this crazy lady that drags her three children all their crap and a huge over priced stroller on the bus.
As you can imagine with this diverse microcosm of society I have had some interesting experiences. Most recently I had a really nice man give me a $40 check. Of course I never cashed it. He also gave me his 24 hour bus pass because he didn’t need to use it anymore. I tried to tell him I have a monthly bus pass. He insisted I take it as he was absolutely sure I’d need it again. I politely put it in my wallet, and thanked him. The next morning when I got to the bus I realized my husband hadn’t given me my daughter’s bus pass back from the previous night. Ended up I DID NEED HIS BUS PASS. Insert creepy movie sound track music here.
A couple of days later I was going home after taking my daughter to school; so I had just the baby on me. There was this nice, but slightly ominous old man riding across from us. He reminded me of the preacher from one of those poltergeist movies. He commented on how sweet my baby was , and he crept referring to her as the little angel which four some reason made me uncomfortable. Suddenly he asks me if she has been Baptized. I try to politely explain that we have dedicated her to God at our church’s Baby Dedication Day, but that I don’t believe in infant baptism. He starts spouting off one verse after another implying that my daughter’s salvation is in question if she died at that moment unbaptized. Of course I knew these scriptures he was using were not referencing baptism at all. I also knew I had a scriptural basis for believing that each individual has to decide for themselves to accept Christ, and Baptism is an act of obedience, but not an act of salvation. However, when put on the spot I drew a complete blank! I could not get off that bus quickly enough! I shuddered when passing him as I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was in the middle of a horror flick. By the way, now that I am calm I should have busted out with Romans 10:9-10 “That if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you shall be saved.”
I just never know who or what I’ll encounter on the bus. Thankfully not all of them are as creepy as the two encounters I described above. Some are actually very pleasant, and I have gotten to know some of the other regular riders over the years. Some are heart wrenching listening to the struggles of others. Still yet there are those obnoxious people who are talking too loud on their cell phones or who are shouting off a row of descriptive expletives next to my chatty toddler. Either way it keeps life interesting!