Sunday, February 17, 2008

REALLY COOL KID

I had the neatest kid on my route 2 bus a couple weeks ago. I had the route for 4 ten hour days and he got on every day, usually twice. The first day he got on and told me he had to get over to the U of M to see his mom but he didn't have the 50 cent fare. I tried to weigh him out to see if he was one of those kids that did that all the time. He seemed sincere so I gave him a stern warning "Don't make a habit out of it." and let him ride.

Strangely, he sat right up front in the peanut seat. He chatted all the way. He told me he had a dog, cat, guinea pig and gerbil and he got $10 a week for taking care of them. He also told me he goes to a Kids Club where they do activities, watch movies and generally keep kids off the streets and out of trouble. He lives in a pretty rough area, so I thought that was great.

The kid got on one day and I had a bus full of college students. He sat and talked politics with one guy. It was pretty interesting to hear this little boy and how smart he really was. Not all of his facts were correct, but he was very bright. We all got to talking about the democratic candidates and he said everyone should vote for Obama 'cuz we needed a black president. I explained to him that I would never vote for anyone just because of their race or gender. That just doesn't make sense. I told him I had been leaning towards voting Obama until I took an internet poll and he actually came out LAST on seeing the issues like I do. That shocked me. I told the kid it is most important to find a candidate that sees things the way you do. I told him I planned to do more polls and listen more closely to whoever the final 2 candidates are to make sure I vote for someone that sees things closest to the way I do. He seemed to get it.

Then the kid started talking about a summer job he was looking forward to...keep in mind he is only 11 years old. He just seemed so eager and energetic. I told him he was a really neat kid and asked him if he was up for adoption. He laughed and said "not yet". I told him he was only a tax write-off for another 7 years so he should keep in touch. He just grinned at me.

Some lady in a wheelchair was getting ready to board. I was putting the lift down and the kid ran back and flipped up the seats for me. He guided the lady in, which I thought was cute and funny...like the lady never did it before. I strapped her in and thanked the kid for his help. I said "Remember the other day when you got on and didn't have your fare?" He looked kind of sad and guilty and said "Yeah, I'm sorry about that." I told him "That's OK, some kids try and do that all the time and I see you just were having one bad day. It happens to all of us. I just wanted to apologize if I made you feel bad. You're a great kid." He perked right up and said "Thanks!" I knew he rode twice a day so I said that it was really nice of him to help with the seats and I had something for him. I gave him a transfer that was good for 24 hours. He thought that was great. He did the math out loud as he figured out he could go see his mom AND come back all on that same transfer. I told him to make sure he held onto it. He just gleamed and said "Oh, I will!"

A couple people that seemed to enjoy the kid as much as I did told me what a nice thing I did for him as they got off the bus. They were all smiles and appeared to have been touched by such a small act of kindness.

The next day the kid got on twice with his transfer. It didn't have a wrinkle in it. He told me he was on his way to the Kids Club and thanked me again for the transfer. I told him it was great being his driver, but I'd be on to another route and may not see him for a while. I told him to stay the neat kid he was and...yes, I'm a sucker for good kids...I gave him another 24 hour transfer.

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