Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The Bus Tickets
He is a young lad - he is maybe fourteen. He walks up to me and quietly asks if I would be kind enough to trade his two bus tickets for a loonie, "They are worth two dollars, you know."
Yes, I know.
I let him down for a second when I tell him that I don't need the tickets. "But wait," I say and encourage him with a smile. "I think I have a loonie that you can have." I search my wallet well aware that he can see that I have a couple of bills. I find three quarters, a dime and a penny. I place them in his slender hand.
"Here, you should have the tickets," he repeats.
"No, I really don't need them. What are you up to?" I ask cautiously, "Do you have a home to go to?"
"I'm just wandering around killing time before my curfew."
"Can't you go home before your curfew?"
"No, it's a shelter. I can't get in before ten."
As I write this, I've been home safe and comfortable for over two hours. He has just been allowed into the shelter.
He's about to walk away and I say, "Wait", and I give him five dollars. It seems such a pittance, but then I remember when five dollars was a fortune to me - it wasn't that that long ago.
We look at each other for a few seconds - he has gentle intelligent eyes shaded by a lock of blond hair.
He tries to give me the tickets a third time.
"I'll make you a deal," I tell him. He looks at me suspiciously. "Keep the tickets, and instead, one day when you are doing well, and I have a good feeling you will do well one day, I want you to pass on the favour to someone else, OK?"
He hesitates only a second, "I will."
I think that he believes me that I believe in him. And, I do.
As he walks away he shares his faith with me, "God Bless."
(In memory of Steven (Cactus) Beriault)