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the wrong bus

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

I got on the wrong bus! Has that ever happened to you?

It was back when I was in preschool and my oldest brother was responsible for taking me to the bus stop and watching me get on the bus. Normally, he succeeded at both tasks, but not this particular day. This day, he saw a yellow bus coming, figured it had to be mine, and left me at the top of the road.

It was the wrong bus.

Now, admittedly, I wasn’t the brightest light in the sky at age four, but I when I got to the top step, I knew. “I’m on the wrong bus.” The kids were older – much older – and they were all...well...white. I looked behind me and my brother was gone, so I took a seat on the wrong bus.

Obviously, I lived through this traumatic event and a responsible adult was at the end of the bus trip to get me back on the right track. But, years later, I still ask myself questions about that day. Like…

Why didn’t I get off the wrong bus and wait for the right one?

Why didn’t someone else on the wrong bus say, “Hey, dumb little kid, you’re on the wrong bus!”

Why did the bus driver let me get on the wrong bus?

I guess it’s our nature as humans to just mind our own business…sometimes…and that’s good…sometimes.

But you know, there are other times – those times when we know a truth. Those are the times when I think it’s our job to alert people when we see them heading in the wrong direction, when we see them getting on the wrong bus.

In other words, if you’re a fellow traveler, I don’t think you should sneak a peak at the wayfarer out of the corner of your eye or worse, just look the other way.

And, definitely, if you’re the driver of the bus, I don't think you should just keep on driving and not even inquire…even if it’s for one, solitary misguided passenger.

And if you’re the person at the end of the trip, I don’t think you should just point the way. Be willing, as it was in my case, to take the person by the hand and lead them and make sure they get on the right bus this time.

Kendra Timberlake, October 2006

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