It was a usual crowded evening at the bus station. 4pm-6pm is a mad rush hour with office goers and students returning home. Jess had just gotten off the train and walked to her bus stop.
Jess had to take 3 modes of traffic to and from work every day. The tram, the train and the bus. The tram and train journeys were usually the tiring ones as they would always be swarmed with people. The route her bus took usually had less number of people so she would get a seat to sit comfortably.
Today, Jess had gotten off work pretty early. Having completed her work for the day, she decided to leave office half an hour early. But that meant she would just have to wait for her regular bus for another 20min sitting at the bus stop bench.
Jess took out her headphones from her bag and started to listen to her playlist. She was tired but nevertheless the music in her ears kind of relaxed her. She leaned back on the bench and relaxed her posture.
Out of nowhere, she suddenly felt a tap on her shoulders. Lost in her music world, she almost instantaneously took off the headphone from one ear and looked at the boy who tapped her.
“Can I have a dollar? I have left my wallet at home and I need the money for the bus fare.” Said a young boy in his teens.
Jess looked at him for a few seconds. She would have appreciated a “Please” in that request but nevertheless, she thought. “But you need 3$ for the bus fare, how will you manage with 1$?” asked Jess. She later realized that question was unnecessary and a little intrusive. It was none of her business anyway.
“I have 2$ change in my pocket. I just need 1$ more to get home.” Said the boy. He did not look like a poor needy kid. He was decently dressed for a young teenager. Jess found him genuine and decided to give him a dollar after all. He gave her a blank “Thanks!” and vanished in the crowd. Jess tried to look around to see which direction he was headed to but couldn’t sight him.
“It was just 1$ anyway. He would have forgotten his wallet poor guy and was worried.” She thought to herself feeling good that she managed to help a kid in a small way.
This incident had happened on a Tuesday. Come Friday, Jess was once again early to the bus stop and had to wait for her bus to arrive. This time she did not find any place to sit down at the stop. So she had to stand near a pole just behind her stop. Today Jess was in no mood to listen to music. She was absent mindedly just looking at the crowd around her.
Suddenly someone approached her. It was the same teenage boy she had met the other day. “Can I have a dollar? I did not get my wallet.” Said the boy again. “Someone teach him to say ‘PLEASE’” she thought in her head.
“You are the same guy from that day!! You do not have your wallet again!!??” she questioned him pointing her finger at him.
“Oh… Oh! That’s ok… I am good” and he took off. This time Jess followed him. I don’t think the boy really cared because he walked fast for a few seconds until he reached the next bus station and slowed down again. Jess was watching him carefully. She saw him conversing with people on the bus stop. Many of them almost grabbed their wallets to give him a dollar. Some bluntly told him a NO.
“This guy was fooling around. And since it is just a dollar, most people do not hesitate in giving it to him.” She thought. In a few minutes, Jess saw him run to the bus stop across the road and catch a bus. “Maybe he genuinely needed money only for the bus fare” thinking to herself.
After that day, Jess never saw the boy again. Maybe she arrived late at her stop and had to immediately catch the bus or the boy stopped asking for a dollar from around her stop. But every time Jess was at her stop, she would remember the boy. The boy who just wanted a dollar! 🙂