On a frigid winter morning last week, I saw a most heinous offense. A Latina woman pushing a baby in a stroller ran toward a city bus as it was closing its doors and preparing to leave the stop. The young mother waved her arms, as if begging the driver to let her and her child onto the bus.
The female driver obviously saw the woman – she looked directly at her – but pulled away anyway, leaving the woman and her baby in the street.
I understand these buses are on tight schedules. I also understand the MBTA, Boston’s public transportation system, has had money problems which have made already bad service dismal. Perhaps the driver was behind schedule and afraid to get into trouble with her superiors. Maybe she was disgruntled and simply having a bad day.
Regardless, is there any reason for a woman and her baby to be ignored and left out in the cold? Especially by a publicly funded institution designed to serve the community.
All this a mere week before Christmas, the season when we’re supposed to forget the crud in our lives and be jolly. Instead, I feel like we’re getting meaner with each passing year. Everyone seems so angry, so “look-out-for-number-one.” What would Santa say?
I followed after the bus to get the number so I could register a complaint. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch the bus or find the woman and her baby, who I probably would have offered a ride. So, I did what any concerned citizen would do after witnessing such an event: I raised a stink. I wrote a letter to the MBTA and the local papers letting them know what I’d seen.
My friends think I’m crazy. ‘What a waste of time,’ they say. ‘No one cares. Sometimes, people are just jerks and life is unfair.’ My pals are right. There has been no response to my letter and probably never will be.
But see, I have a clear vision of how the world should be. In my world, people are considerate of each other. Kindness creates an environment where everyone feels safe and included. No one shoves their elbow in someone else’s ribs to get ahead, and they do good things for each other because it’s decent.
Besides, I’m a bleeding heart who needs to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves. While I’m certainly no member of the ruling class, I do have a few privileges. I’m American, fairly well-educated and middle class. If a hard-working immigrant or less privileged individual is being mistreated by one of my neighbors, I’ll say something. And if I’m in a warm car, I should speak up for those forced to take the bus.
I’m no dumbie. I realize my lollipop fantasies of a compassionate Earth will never come to fruition. But I’m not going to stop being a nice person. I’m not going to allow assholes to get away with their assholery. It’s about fighting for the kind of world I want to live in. Maybe I won’t win the match, but I won’t stop swinging. Especially during Christmas.
[*Photo from easleycostumes.com.]