Saturday, May 16, 2009

Stories From The Bus: It's Gone By Now

I ventured out to the mall today. Yep, I said "the mall." A place I generally try to avoid at all cost, plus, I was just there a month ago! And that's precisely why I was heading there today--to return the one item I purchased on my last visit to the "unhappiest place on earth." I think shopping is a gift, you either have it or you don't. And I don't. I'm bad at shopping and I don't enjoy it so I dread having to go to the large structure, full of smaller structures, full of clothing items in every color/pattern/material/size/shape which you then have option of the accessories in every color/pattern/material/size/shape to accompany the clothes you may or may not have found to work well with your body. It's sooooo overwhelming!

Well, once in a blue moon, I get lucky and actually have a different shopping experience. One that involves walking into one store, browsing the many items neatly hung around me, choosing some to try on, finding some that don't work and then listening to the chorus of angels that has assembled in the dressing room singing a celebratory anthem because I've found not one but TWO dresses that I like and that fit well! It's a miracle in Macy's department store. A single tear... This is the shopping experience I gladly embraced today even though, it meant spending more money than I initially intended. As I left the mall, I was happy and was off to complete the other errands on my list.

I took two buses to my next location and everything was working so well, no long wait for buses or bad weather to contend with and my iPod hadn't died yet. I got off the Culver City #6 and began walking towards my next destination when I realized I was EMPTY HANDED. SHIT! I just left my Macy's bag on the bus! SHIT! I began trying to contact someone at Culver CityBus but it's Saturday and I just kept getting a recorded message. I just left an expensive bag on a public bus and all I could do was walk back to the bus stop and wait. It was an agonizing wait and I just kept reminding myself of all the kindnesses I've witnessed on the bus. Really, I see people offer their seats to others all the time, people let other passengers know when they've dropped something or even left something behind (like a shopping bag!) before they exit, compliments are given, smiles are passed out, directions are explained, and arms are offered to those needing help on or off. I kept hoping that today, I would be the recipient of someone's honesty and kindness.

I got on the next bus that came by and explained my situation to the driver who said he could call it in and then "they" would contact the drivers to see if anyone had found a Macy's bag. I told him it had been about 30 minutes and he asked what was in the bag. Two dresses. "It's gone by now," was his response. "Maybe a kind person turned it in, you never know," was mine. The driver was really helpful but I think he was trying to prepare me for the reality that I may never see that bag again. He told me there wasn't a way to find out if it had been found so it was best if I waited for the driver of the original bus to pass and that it could be an hour and 10 minutes. So, I waited. And hoped. And tried not to cry. (Seriously, it was a bit pathetic. It was just money after all.)

About 40 minutes into my second waiting period, a Culver CityBus employee drove up in an SUV and told me that the bag was found and that the driver knows where to look for me and would be at my stop in about 20 minutes. What?! Seriously?! You found it?! Nobody stole it?! Thank you, thank you, thank you! And it as true. The next beautiful green bus that pulled up was my original bus and there in the front window was my Macy's bag! I'm pretty sure the dressing room angels returned for an encore and I was elated! Not just to have my new dresses but to have confirmation that people are good and honest and kind. Several people helped me locate the bag, several others had the opportunity to steal it in the two hours that it was out of my possession but they didn't. Of course, if it had been stolen I wouldn't have lost hope in all people but it's pretty great to have these moments. There is lots of goodness in the world, this is just one small example.

A special thank you to the Culver CityBus employees that helped, the person that found/turned in the bag, and the people of LA who rode bus #7061 today and chose kindness.

I think it might be a while before I venture out to the mall again...