I boarded the number 8 bus downtown on my usual route to work this morning. As I’m walking towards an open seat, there is a boy around 6-8 years old, sitting on the steps just past the back door. His mom is sitting up in the seat next to him. The boy has obviously been crying. After taking a seat it quickly becomes apparent that the boy is “throwing a fit.” The mother is doing her best to calm the boy down. The boy of course has none of it, demanding his mother to get off the bus. He wants to take the next bus.
This bus travels up to OHSU as well as the VA hospital. So needless to say, the bus fills up fairly quickly as it travels the bus mall downtown. By the second stop after I get on the bus enough people have boarded that it is necessary for the mother to pick up the boy from the middle of the aisle and make him sit in the seat next to her. The boy of course, wants none of this. As his mother is holding him he begins to bite her and punch her. The boy is not big yet, but its all the mother can do to hold on. He still wants to get off and take the next bus. The mother at this point is on the verge of tears and finally has had enough. She tells the boy, “fine, well get off as soon as you settle down a little bit. Then we’ll go home.” The boy doesn’t want to go home either. But he does begin to settle down.
By this time we are passing the stops serving PSU. Enough people have deboarded that the seat across the aisle is free, and the boy decides he wants to sit by himself over there. He calmly goes and sits down, his “fit” apparently over.
The mother is still sitting on the verge of tears. As another woman is getting off the bus, she gently touches the mother on the knee and compliments her on her handling of her child. This is the trigger that opens the gate to her tears. Another woman, who was sitting up in the front of the bus, comes over to the mother and lets her cry on a shoulder. This woman then sits next to the boy and talks to him for a little bit. His storm has passed at this point.
Finally we get to their stop and they deboard. A guy also deboarding tells the woman (who let the mother cry on her shoulder), “simply magic.”
And it was…simply magic…
A crowded bus with a screaming kid, yet I didn’t hear anyone say anything in poor taste about the mother. Just a few people showing love to a stranger.
It is through this kind of love that our world will find salvation.