The bus, the puddle, and the pedestrian

Photo credit Pixabay.

I was riding a bus in Boston last week, not long after it rained, and the weather had cleared and people were out walking. At one point, the bus was moving down a bus lane close to the edge of the street where the sidewalk was inches away, and approaching a large puddle of water in the street. At the same time a man was walking on the sidewalk, apparently unaware that he would arrive at the point of the sidewalk next to the puddle just as the bus hit the puddle.

It was an ideal set-up for the bus driver to show his true colors, perhaps perfectly in line with the fiendish delight of the drivers of Bob Newhart’s Bus Driver Training.

What happened? The bus driver gradually slowed the bus, enough that the splash was more of a ripple and it missed the man completely.

I walked up to the driver and said “So, did you intentionally slow down as you approached that puddle?” and he said that he had. I said “that was awesome!” and he sheepishly grinned back at me.

The bus driver had options. He might not even have been looking out for the potential splash in the first place. He could have decided it was up to the pedestrian to look out for himself, or that it was an opportunity for the pedestrian to learn a lesson about being aware of his surroundings, or that he might as well let it happen since everyone looks down on bus drivers anyway.  

But he chose to give the pedestrian a break. I loved that I caught him in the act, and that he grinned.

How did you feel the last time you made a choice that gave someone a break, when you had lots of other options? Or chose a less kind option because you needed to win or someone to lose? And how awesome was it the last time you caught someone in an act of kindness, and acknowledged it?


Look for the good in every person and situation. You’ll almost always find it. – Brian Tracy