That Bus Ain’t Gonna Get You There
As many of you know, we have a lovely condo in Mexico … my happy place … that we get to enjoy for several months out of the year. We’re here now, and I want to share a brief story of an experience we had recently that epitomizes the spirit of the holidays.
Once a week or so, we leave our little gated community of Puerto Aventuras to venture into the larger city of Playa del Carmen. Now, I don’t speak any Spanish. Fortunately, a few nouns followed by some fairly animated pointing and grunting usually gets my point across! Tom is a bit better, but he’s nowhere near fluent.
In the Yucatan, there are these white vans, called collectivos, that shoot up and down the highway from Cancun to Tulum. Another set of local buses gets you around the city of Playa del Carmen. They’re safe, extremely inexpensive, and a great way to travel.
So, Tom and I get on the collectivo that says, “Centro,” which we assume will get us to the Mega grocery store in the middle of town that sells just about everything from a Nutella substitute sweetened with stevia … yum … to washer-dryers and even motorcycles. Think more super than a Super Wal-Mart.
We’re the only English-speaking folks on the van, along with a couple of families and a couple of men. It becomes clear after awhile that we aren’t heading to the Mega, but, in fact, have ended up waaaay out on the fringes of the town in areas we’ve never seen before. We keep thinking maybe the van will complete its long loopy route and eventually deposit us in the middle of town after all.
And our Spanish speaking friends know we’ve screwed up and are clearly concerned about us … even though we’re just strangers on a bus. Through a bunch of single words, pointing and gesturing, we convey we wanted to go to the Mega, and they let us know we aren’t gonna get there on that bus! They took the initiative to communicate our dilemma to the driver. They went out of their way to show us where to get off and how to catch the bus to where we needed to go.
Eight people on a bus who were simply concerned about their fellow man. They didn’t just sit there. They reached out to us in kindness.
There’s a lot of division in the world. It’s sad and so dispiriting. And, if you’ll forgive a tortured analogy, that “bus” of division and separation ain’t gonna get us where we want to go.
The truth is the world only works when we care about and look out for each other, ignoring the superficial differences between us that mean absolutely nothing. We’re all humans on a human journey, far more alike than we are different from one another.
This holiday season, I urge you to reach out in kindness to someone you don’t know.
Create connection. Bridge any and all apparent divisions to make your little corner of the world better … right here … right now.
It’s needed now more than ever.
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