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I love New York (buses)!

Soon after I came to New York City, I had wonderful experiences with the bus drivers. I thought they were the nicest people in New York. I still think so.

One day I got on the bus. I held out a dollar to the driver. (I forget how much the bus fare was then, but it was a lot less than a dollar.)

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"I don't have the change," the driver said.

"You don't?" I was utterly surprised. I had thought all the drivers had change!

"You have to have the exact amount," he said.

"Oh, I'm sorry...."

I wasn't sure what to do. Maybe I should get off, I thought.

"Go in. Go inside," the driver whispered.

I tried to give the dollar to him. But he said no.

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"Just go inside," he repeated.

So, I found an empty seat and sat down.

The next time I waited for a bus, I had coins in my hand. This time I had counted the coins and I had enough - the exact amount.

The bus came, and I got on. I dropped the coins one by one. To my horror, I was 5 cents short!

I had no idea what had happened to my bus fare between the time I had counted it and the time the bus came. And I didn't have any more coins with me! What was I going to do?

"That's OK. Go in," the driver said.

"If you have change, I have...." I was taking out a dollar bill.

Maybe he had his own money, I thought.

"No, I don't have any change. Go in."

Again, I was rescued.

Another time, I came out of the immigration office and saw an empty bus right in front of the entrance.

"Are you going near the Empire State Building?" I asked the driver. From the Empire State Building, I could go home, I thought.

"No," the driver said. Then he directed me to where I could get the right bus.

I didn't understand him, but I thanked him anyway and started trotting down the street. I don't think I would have understood the directions even if he had kindly repeated them. I have always had trouble understanding directions, even when they were given in Japanese when I was in my native Japan!

I WAS looking this way and that way, wondering if I was going in the right direction.

A bus came from behind me, honked, then stopped beside me. The door opened. It was the driver who had just given me the directions!

"Get in," he said.

I stared at him.

"I'll take you to the bus stop where you can catch your bus," he said.

So, I got in and had a ride. The bus took many turns. I would never have found the bus stop if I had walked by myself, I thought.

When the bus stopped and the door opened, I thanked the driver and got out. The bus left. I think the driver was on his way to the bus garage. I watched the bus disappear.

Is it any wonder that I think New York bus drivers are wonderful people?

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society