In 1979, I used public transportation to get to and from work. From work — a job I had gotten the previous fall — I’d get on one bus, ride downtown, wait about 10 minutes, and catch my transfer for home. That downtown stop was one of the busiest in the city. At least twenty different buses stopped there, including two that could take me home. Five days a week, I saw dozens, maybe hundreds of people, either waiting for a bus or waiting to cross the street. I got to know several of these folks, if not by name, at least by sight. There was a man who appeared to be homeless; I never saw him panhandle anything, but he was always checking the ground for anything useful. Other familiar figures included a woman who was always knitting, a man with his newspaper, and a blind man.
On one particular day in late May, something unusual happened. As I was waiting for my bus, a pretty girl caught my eye. I was watching her walk down the sidewalk when all of a sudden, I heard tires squeal, and somebody yelled, “GET OUT OF THE WAY, YOU BLIND SON OF A… !”
I turned, and sure enough, the blind man had drifted into the middle of the intersection. I guess somebody bumped him hard enough to turn him out of the crosswalk. When he turned toward me, I could see confusion and fear on his face.
There were 25 or 30 people between him and me. Not one of them did anything to help him. I was shocked at first; then I thought, “All these people are too wrapped up in themselves to really care about someone in need.”
My bus was arriving, but the blind man had to have some help. I started to move toward him, but just then, out of nowhere, the homeless man got to him. He gently put his arm around the blind man and guided him safely across the street.
The two of them spoke briefly, but I couldn’t hear what was said. It wasn’t my business anyway.
I saw both of them many more times, but I never saw them speak to one another again. I only saw the yelling driver once more when I watched him arrested by the police, handcuffed, and put in the paddy wagon for reckless endangerment. What I saw at the bus stop that day was a diamond in the rough — and justice being served.