As her short 2nd grade legs climbed up the steep metal school bus steps, she tripped on her untied shoelace and stumbled into the bus driver. He had a kind face. He helped her up with an "ooops, are you okay sweetheart"? She felt so embarrassed, it was the first day of school, 1966. She was dressed in a new favorite outfit. It was a dress her big sister helped her choose. As she looked down and smoothed her white polka dotted mini dress, she noticed the strap on her pocket book was broken. Her face must have turned scarlet red, because Bob, the bus driver said again with more concern "are you okay?" Tears welled up in her eyes, Her sister was going to kill her. She shouldn't have borrowed the pocketbook without asking. The bus driver noticed the strap, and said "Oh, don't worry honey when you get home, your daddy can fix that for you." She tried to acknowledge his kindness but feeling very upset, lucy just moved towards her friend Anna's seat and sat down next to her. Anna, who had heard what the bus driver said told lucy "Lucy, go tell him you don't have a dad". 'No Anna! It doesn't matter, why should I say that?' "BEcause", Anna said" He thinks you have a dad to fix Diane's pocketbook." Lucy adamantly refused to offer, what she saw as irrelevant information, so Anna walked the few seats to the front of the bus and said "Bob, She doesn't have a dad, he died". Bob, turned towards Lucy and said "I'm so sorry dear, would you like me to try and fix that bag for you?" Before, she could answer, before she could think, Anna already grabbed the purse, dumped its contents onto her seat and handed the purse to Bob. Lucy felt more embarrassed than grateful. Not having a dad made her feel like she had a sign on her back saying Freak. Bossy Anna had the nicest dad, He always took them for pizza. He played volleyball in their pool with her and Anna and once he put Lucy up on his shoulders the way he often carried Anna.
At the end of the first day of school,an anxious Lucy stepped very carefully up the wide steps. To her surprise a new bus driver was driving her home. Bob, who had been their driver last year too, had been asked to switch routes with another driver who had some personal issues with an older student. Her initial fear was quickly forgotten with a sigh of relief, when she saw Dianes purse sitting up on the dashboard, repaired! The driver asked if she was Lucy and gave her the purse. The feeling of relief was overwhelming, but the feeling of regret for not having thanked Bob bothered her for a very long time.
Lucy would have never expected that an indirect opportunity of a second chance to thank Kind Bob would happen, But it would happen 42 years later....
Working as a hairstylist for many years, Lucy shared many stories with her customers. One day, Lucy was telling her long time client Evelyn about all the wonderful stories her son shares with her about his adorable students. Evelyn laughed and said "My husband used to share some really cute stories with me. It is so wonderful working with kids." Lucy said "Remind me, What did your husband do"? He was a bus driver said Evelyn. "Oh that's right, How did I forget that?". Evelyn than began a favorite story from many many years ago.... yes. The story of a sweet little child with a broken pocketbook strap, who thought it was the end of the world. A child Bob had thought was adorably sweet. As Lucy listened, Her heart sank to her stomach, she stopped cutting Evelyn's hair. Her eyes welled up and the tears just wouldn't stop. At first, Evelyn didn't understand. Then, she remembered that Lucy had grown up in the same town that she lived in. Why didn't she ever realize that possibility? She stood up and with an expression of surprise and warmth she hugged Lucy and cried with her. Lucy was able to finally thank Bobs widow for his small kind gesture that had meant the world to a small fatherless girl.
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