I was on the 15L bus in Denver, Colorado, on my way home from work. The 15L was the East Colfax bus, meaning it didn't serve the fancy, high-end part of town; East Colfax Avenue was mostly the place of drug dealers, prostitutes, and the down on their luck.
The bus driver was a black woman, probably in her 30s. I always admired the drivers on the 15L, because so much shit happened on that bus — I recall seeing a fistfight break out between passengers at 5:30am on the 15L, the smell of weed fresh in the air, and the poor driver (not the same one) having to try to mitigate the situation.
Anyhow, on this day, a passenger in the front of the bus, a middle-aged white woman dressed in shabby clothes, suddenly started sobbing. I don't know what she was crying about; that never came up. All I remember is the driver stopping the bus, going to this woman, and holding her while she sobbed, rocking her and speaking to her in a soothing voice until she had calmed down.
That kicked my ass. To see this person just set everything aside in order to comfort another human who was in pain, no questions asked. Maybe risking her job, too, if any heartless asshole on the bus decided to complain to RTD about a delay. (No one actually said anything, so I live in hope that no complaints were lodged.)
That's kindness, at least to me. There wasn't anything in it for that driver. The crying woman wasn't being disruptive or unruly; she was just upset. And that bus driver — man, I wish I knew her name so I could really shout her out — just made the very human choice to do the best she could to help in the moment.
And I believe she did help. Whatever problems this poor lady was having, hugs and soothing words were probably not going to fix them, but that human connection, the knowledge that her upset or grief meant something to another person, definitely seemed to help her in the now.
We need more of that in this world. People making human connections with one another, being moved when we see another human in pain, rather than indifferent, irritated, or amused. We're all humans, and we all have feelings, and we all need love and understanding.
-- Amy Christa Ernano
Posted on Quora 8/13/20. Photo: RTD.com