by Chloe Huerin Suh
The sandwich was exceptionally delicious that morning. Toasted onion bagel nice and crusty covered in mayo on one side and pesto on the other, added with crispy bacon, avocado with a pinch of lemon pepper, and a sunny side egg, it was a taste of heaven as the yoke drips down my fingers. I check the time on my phone as I munch on my sandwich. My dimension of bliss came to a screeching halt with a shocking revelation that it was already 7:17. I had three minutes to catch the school bus.
I jumped up, wiped off the yoke and the bread crumbs, grabbed my bag, and bolted out of the house catching the elevator. The elevator began from the B1 floor and counted one, two, three… It was going to take a while to reach thirty-two. I was not going to make it. In a panic, I texted my friend who had taken the bus from the previous station, pleading if he could ask the bus driver to wait just two minutes.
“He says hurry!”
Ding. As soon as the elevator door opened, I raced down the apartment complex. I gasped for air and began to feel lactic acids building up in my legs. I turned the corner and identified the small yellow bus with the emergency signal waiting for me. I mustered all my strength and sprinted the last 100 meters like the ones I had seen in the Olympics. My backpack jiggling uncontrollably from behind and my hair looking wild as it can be, it must have been a sight to see for those waiting on the bus.
“Good morning! Having a rough start?”
“Yeah… Thank you for waiting,” I sheepishly exclaimed, still gasping for air.
His big smile and kind gesture caught me off guard as I entered nervously, expecting some sort of a scolding. His warmness was actually quite comforting. As I sat in the back seat, still catching my breath, I knew my day would be just fine. The bus arrived at school, and I thanked him again for waiting for me. He wished me a great day and told me to learn as much as possible. Perhaps, a bit cliche, yet his words carried so much genuineness that they touched my heart. Then, I realized that all this time, the bus drivers picked us up to school, candidly wishing that all of us would learn and grow as much as possible.
A moment of flashbacks reminded me that he always smiled; I just didn’t take the time to notice. Some days I would be discouraged by under-delivered test results, and he would ask me if I was having a bad day. Downcasted, I would reply, “I didn’t do so well on my test.” “It’s okay; you can do well next time,” he would exclaim. I didn’t know it then, but I realized that behind those small talks and initiatives was a deeply caring heart cheering and rooting for all of us.
There are thousands of bus drivers and taxi drivers where I live. They serve as a backbone to the community, transporting countless people day in and day out. I’ve always appreciated them but never expressed my appreciation or acknowledged them beyond job descriptions. One thing was certain. Beyond transporting us back and forth, our bus driver was equipping us for a brighter future.
3:15 pm finally arrived. Just like any other day, our bus driver was right there waiting for us, pleasantly smiling. However, this time I noticed. “Had a great day?” He asked. “I had a wonderful day! Thank you so much!” I said it with the biggest smile and meant every word.