The Happy Thousand-Year-Old Bus


The random hacking on the MRT it’d made me miss the days of old when I’d taken the bus in my small country town.

A couple of years ago, I’d worked in a Hakka Town in the district of Hsinchu.  Every morning at around six, the bus would start from the train stations of the city, and drive to the distant country sides, and, those who got on first were the students and the nine-to-fivers.  After they’d gotten on, some would doze off, others would be reading up on their lessons, it’s very quiet on the bus.

After all the students alighted the bus, the bus then drives to the country regions, and, all the way there, there’s the scenery of rice paddies, vegetable fields, creeks, farm houses, along with that fresh breeze that is only in the country sides.  At which time, the elderly population on the bus increased, they’re mostly in their sixties to their eighties, and, they’re traveling, for the sakes of medical treatment, to shop for groceries or daily necessities.  As they’d alighted the bus, they’d all say hi to one another, and get caught up in chit-chat, and the atmosphere would come to life on the bus.

The middle aged driver would be extremely cautious as he drove, because there are more elderly population on the bus, and, as the elderly came on board or gotten off, he’d reminded them, “Take your time, slowly!  I’ll wait for you!”, and, if an elderly person is carrying something heavy, then, sometimes, the driver, sometimes the other passengers, would help them carry the bags off the bus.

Sometimes, when the bus stopped, the sixty-something elderly who’d sat up front would move to the back, turns out, that seventy to eighty-year-olds had alighted the bus, so the sixty year olds quickly given up their seats.  Sometimes, when the elderly didn’t have enough money in the bus passes, there would be other passengers who’d helped pay for them, and tell the elderly, “It’s fine, it’s NOT even the price of a sesame bun!”

And, other than the working class, there would be about ten to fifteen elderly folks who take the bus too, and, count the ages of all the passengers (no more than twenty), it’s over a thousand years, and so, this is, the thousand-year-old bus.

I’d discovered on these elderly who couldn’t read, the cares and concerns people showed to each other in the world, and found the philosophies of having enough is enough.  And now, I no longer worked in that small town, and I hadn’t taken that thousand-year-old bus in a long time, but, the warmth, the flow, the gentle natures of the country folks, I will never forget.

And so, this, is how kindness IS infectious, and, because people on the bus are considerate of one another, that, is why you can see this wonderful thing going on.


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Filed under Expectations, Kindness Shown, Lending a Helping Hand, Translated Work, Values

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