I don’t have any bones to pick with public transport, but sometimes it can really screw you over. This is a shout out to the kind stranger who helped me out a few days ago.
I was up in Brisbane for work and needed to get a bus from Central to my meeting out west. Wanting to check that I was in the right place, I turned to a woman at the bus stand. She assured me this was the correct stop and the bus was coming soon.
Sure enough, it arrived a couple of minutes later. But, as with express buses in Sydney, they didn’t accept cash on board and I needed a pass to ride. Which, not being local, I did not have.
The woman asked me where I was headed, pulled out a spare pass and told me to sit with her so she could show me where to get off.
“I always carry a spare, for this exact situation,” she said.
And when we got on, she ran into a friend who affirmed she also carried around an extra pass for visitors in need.
Thanks to this stranger, I made it to my meeting.
It was a Random Act of Kindness that wasn’t really all that random. Kindness of a stranger, yes; random, no.
This woman (and her friend) consciously took an extra bus pass with her everywhere she went, with the explicit intention of being able to help out people like me who might get stuck.
I guess as a society we like the idea of random acts of kindness, a spontaneous expression of the better part of human nature. But what would “set the world in the right direction” is more likely to be non-random acts of kindness – planned ones, like this woman and her spare bus pass.
I can’t imagine anyone doing that here in Sydney. If it’s something you’ve come across, I’d love to know about it. If it’s something you yourself do, good on you.
Because I’m going to pay it forward. I’m going to follow that lady’s example and buy an extra Opal card. It’s a small undertaking that may mean a lot to some stranger, someday.