Becky Says...

April 2005

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The Ride - April 20

First the background. Chapel Hill has a really wonderful bus system. Sometimes the schedule makes it challenging to ride the bus, but all in all, the good outweighs the nuisance. And a part of the system is something called Easy Rider. Yes, it probably was named after the movie.

Easy Rider is designed to let people with physical disabilities get around town. It has vans, and drivers who are trained to help with wheelchairs and walkers and any other accoutrement someone needs for comfortable safe travels. The service is not limited to taking people to medical appointments, by any means. On any given day, you're as likely to see Easy Rider vehicles at the shopping centers as at clinics.

Today I was on my way to work on one of the bus system's regular buses. I'll admit I was having some moments of self-pity. I have an ailing car. I have to leave home earlier than I want to to get to work since the route is so long. And my back hurt.

Then came a stop, a few minutes away from the stop near my office. A lady got on the bus, sat down in a seat at the front, and told those of us around her how delighted she was to be able to ride the bus. She went on to say that this was the first day in a very long time that she hadn't needed the extra help offered by Easy Rider, as she recovered from an accident. She was on her way to a physical therapy session, and was very pleased that she could go to it on her own.

You could tell she was making an impact on those if us around her. The passenger seated to her left shook her hand and congratulated her. Those of us across the aisle added our congratulations (we were too far away to reach her to shake hands). She told us her first name and said she was glad to meet us. We told her ours, and when it was my turn to do so, she looked at the totebag I was carrying and commented on the design on it. (Yes, Patrick, that bag.)

And as I got ready to leave the bus, I looked at her again and told her I hoped she had a wonderful day. I didn't tell her she had given me cause to put the things I wasn't happy about in perspective and get over myself, but she had indeed done just that. If you heard some major creaking early this afternoon, that was my attitude adjusting itself.

Her smile and delight stayed with me the rest of the day. And I doubt I'll ever forget her name, because it describes the joy's brilliance. Her name is Star.

Text copyright 2000-2005 Becky