August 16, 2008

The kindness of strangers

Filed under: My Life — happychick @ 6.38p08

Sometimes things happen that restore my faith in the people around me, and in a broader sense, humanity.

As in any city, mine has its “dero” areas and its “upper-class” ones, and it was in one of these lower socio-economic suburbs I found myself today. The train-line in this area is particularly rough, and as I stuggled with the auto-teller, I could feel myself growing nervous and becoming instinctively wary of the young man on the bench behind me. The machine guzzled my money without producing a ticket, and the minutes ticked closer to the trains’ arrival.

The young man approached. I clenched my fists as I registered his steel-capped boots and drug-affected complexion. I smiled wanly as he said “Don’t bother with that shit”, and handed me his transport card. I was shocked and humbled, taking it with a thanks and proceeding to catch the newly-arrived train. He asked for nothing, sitting quietly across from me for the trip, which I spent questioning my assumptions and ironically reading the No Sugar, an Aboriginal play about discrimination. At the other end, we reached the city and he and I went in opposite directions, me still clutching his pass.

I’ll never see that boy again. He gave me his pass, which I realised later was no ordinary transport card- it was his 24hour rider, a card given to disadvantaged people to encourage them to get back into work. He’d given me that pass out of selflessness, and I can’t think of how to express how much I appreciate it.


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