After a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family in Pennsylvania, my partner and I decided to spend the following weekend in New York City. What an interesting bus ride from the small town where my sister lives into the city. I’ve taken this bus before, but never with a cast of characters like the passengers riding the day after Thanksgiving. There were only a handful of people on the bus when we got on. There was a young man with long hair who resembled the actor Adam Driver sleeping with noise-canceling headphones across the aisle from us. He missed all the comedy when a bickering couple with strong New York accents boarded the bus two stops later.

Both were carrying at least 3 or 4 large shopping bags full of gifts. Moments after getting on the bus, the woman started fretting that she had left a bag at the bus stop. The man kept telling her over and over again which bags he had by describing their colors and patterns while scolding her for losing the red bag. This banter went on for a few minutes while the woman continued fretting and searching for the missing bag. Eventually, she yelled “STOP!” to the bus driver. Luckily, he did not hear her, or he pretended not to. Two seconds later, with much less volume, we heard her say, “Oh. Here it is. I’m holding it.” I sat there giggling after that seven-minute exchange, fully expecting someone to say, “Ladies and Gentlemen, please give a round of applause for our Shortline Players!” It was like a Saturday Night Live skit on wheels!

The next stop would be our last before Port Authority. There was a crowd of about thirty people waiting to get on. Our driver had to count empty seats before letting anyone else board. It looked like those folks had been waiting out in the cold for a while so they were not happy to discover some of them wouldn’t get on. One of the last to board was a very determined grandmother with two wide-eyed grandchildren. The little boy looked to be about one year old and the little girl was probably no more than five. She walked past us, kids in tow, but eventually made her way back to the front of the bus to wake the sleeping man with headphones. His bag was in the only remaining empty seat.

Once he moved his bag to an overhead compartment, the grandmother plopped down in the seat and grabbed her bundled up grandson, placing him on her lap. She then pulled her granddaughter closer to her and loudly proclaimed that she was NOT getting off the bus. Meanwhile, the bus driver was outside giving the rest of the waiting crowd the bad news that the bus was full. Even though the kids were small, I wondered how this woman was going to cram three bodies into one seat for the remaining two and a half hours of the ride.

Then something quite unexpected happened. The young man sitting next to her offered to hold the little boy on his lap so the little girl could get out of the aisle and into her grandmother’s lap. Once he got settled, it was literally less than a few seconds before the boy was fast asleep on the stranger’s lap. He didn’t seem to mind that he had never met this man before, or that his skin was a different color. Apparently he felt safe, and his little eyes closed for the rest of the trip. Seeing the little brown boy sleeping in the young man’s arms touched my heart. It confirmed what I believe to be true. Despite the stories reported on the evening news, it is much more natural for us to help one another than it is to harm one another. People are intrinsically good. We just sometimes forget that we are all the same. 

To me, that stranger on the bus exemplified the spirit of this time of year. Peace on Earth. Goodwill to all. Perhaps you will be the one who holds the door open for a stranger, or maybe you will be the stranger with your hands full. You don’t have to hold a baby on your lap for two and a half hours to be kind. Maybe smiling at a stranger or talking with the person behind you in line will be just the holiday miracle you both needed.

If you could use some help letting a miracle in, please consider giving yourself the gift of Life Coaching or a private Family Constellations session. Both help you see things from a different perspective and allow love to flow more freely. For more information and to schedule a session, please look around my website or send me an email. Gift certificates are also available on my website.

Until next time, may this miracle story inspire you to be open to unexpected possibilities and the kindness of a so-called stranger.

Even at the level of the most casual encounter, it is possible for two people to lose sight of separate interests, if only for a moment.

A Course in Miracles – M-3.2:6

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