The Bus Ride and What I Learned

Riding on the bus can be an experience in itself here in the big city. You can bump into all sorts of people and get your bum pinched as well!

But yesterday, my oldest son and I had to take the bus to see his therapist and no matter what empty seat we moved to, we could not escape the stench of "Unwashed man!"

Now I have tried to instill in my children to not point nor stare and certainly not to make rude comments aloud about people on the public transport system. The oldest son has gotten the hang of it, but the youngest will look at a person and pronounce loudly, "YOU STINK!"

But no matter what my son and I did yesterday, we couldn't get away from this person who smelled. And when I say smell, this man smelled like he had not had a bath all summer long and probably not a bath in a year or more.

We dared not to look at him, but we looked at each other. We had to restrain our selves from gagging or bursting out into tears or laughter when the man started to talk to his bag. It was at that moment, I was glad we didn't have the four-year-old with us. A dose of reality probably wouldn't have touched this man, but he probably would have touched my child and that would have caused me to touch him with my foot.

I don't take kindly to other adults trying to disciplining my children nor looking and telling me how to discipline my children. But I think I've done a pretty good job with my kids, for there were other kids on the bus that were proclaiming loudly "Mommy, what's that SMELL???"

My son simply played his pencil games and kept his head down while I looked out at the scenery we passed by. Then we made a game of trying to find things in alphabetical order. Once we got off the bus to walk the 3 blocks to his therapist, I couldn't help but hug the kid and tell him how proud I was of him that he kept his mouth shut about the stench on the bus.

And he looked at me and said, "Mom, that guy probably couldn't help that he doesn't have the money to live in a house or an apartment to take a shower or a bath in." The rest of the way to the therapist's office, I let my son's words swim in my head and realized that he was right.

Published on August 9, 2006 in