Yesterday after I worked out at the gym, I needed to run a few shopping errands. As usual, I took TheBus. It turned out that I was the last person to board; a husky lumbering woman got on just ahead of me. Stolidly standing at the front of the extremely crowded bus, she blocked the aisle with her rusty cart at her feet and a humongous frayed backpack slung over her shoulders. At least momentarily, no one behind her could get through to the front exit. A frantic woman failed to do so just as the doors were closing. She would either have to try the back exit at the next stop or manage to dislodge the woman in front of her.
The bus heaved on. I, hemmed in by that same stone-cold woman, couldn’t reach the cord behind me to indicate that I wanted to leave at the next stop, so I had to tell the bus driver where to let me off. As I departed, the bulky woman still hadn’t budged.
During my one-stop presence on the bus, nobody informed the bus driver about the woman who hindered other passengers from exiting at the front of the bus. I was just as remiss. But why should I blame myself or others? After all, there is a sign urging passengers to exit at the rear of the bus, a sign routinely ignored by many people.
Technically the woman didn’t have to allow anyone else to get by her to approach the front exit. Nonetheless, would it have been too onerous for her to show a little bit of the Aloha Spirit to the other passengers, a Hawaiian courtesy that I have warmheartedly witnessed so often in TheBus?
Later on that day, I took TheBus (No. 13, Waikiki) back to my condo. I was carrying a fully packed satchel and a heavy grocery bag. There were no available seats, so I had to stand. Before the next stop, a young person offered me his seat. I told him I appreciated his gesture and plopped down on the seat. Such courtesy to a senior citizen trying to balance himself as the bus was lurching ahead. Inexplicably, at the next stop, the driver told us that everyone would have switch buses for another Bus 13 right behind us. When I lugged myself towards it, I saw that there was standing room only. Just as I grabbed onto the iron strap with my left hand, my satchel dangling from my shoulder and my bag dragging my right hand to the floor, a young woman offered me her seat. What consideration! I effusively thanked her for her kindness.
On my return rides to Waikiki, two strangers doubled down on the indomitable Aloha Spirit.