by Margarita Calderón
This is part of a story my neighbor, a Transportation VP, shared with me. This is what your students might be going through these days:
A family was dropped off outside the Vice President’s home on a cold December evening. The mother, her toddler, and teen daughter were not dressed for the cold. Their shoes had been ruined from the long journey. They wandered around the area until they found a bus stop bench that was sheltered by plexiglass on three sides and roof. When they approached, an older man stood up. The daughters, without speaking, led their mother to sit down. She looked at the man for approval and he motioned to sit. There was room on the bench for both, but he motioned to the children to sit by their mom. They huddled together to keep warm. Just then, a middle-aged woman came and abruptly told the children, “Get up.” They immediately did so. The lady sat down and turned to the man who was standing there and began her barrage on immigrants. The gentleman tried to steer away from the topic, but she went on and on. The mother and her children were embarrassed but didn’t know what to say. Luckily, they could see the bus picking up passengers two blocks away. The middle-aged lady jumped up to get ahead of the line, but she tripped on a root protruding from the nearby tree, fell and hit her head. Her head started bleeding profusely. The gentleman started calling 911 but couldn’t get through. The mother found a clean towel in her bag and began to wipe the blood off the lady’s eyes. The teenager held her up while the mother took out the one bottle of water they had given her on the bus that brought them from Laredo. The lady took a couple of sips and slowly, reluctantly, awkwardly said, “Thank you.” The ambulance finally arrived and tended to the lady before putting her in the ambulance. The ambulance driver saw the mother and daughters, and called a local shelter and asked them to come pick them up at the bus stop. Then he told them in Spanish that someone was on the way to help them. The gentleman who had been silent all along was a transportation administrator and was there to test this new route. Before he left, he gave the mother a $50 bill. She blessed him and wished him a great year. Let’s be nice to everyone – we never know who we meet out there, and how they might have a positive impact on our lives!