You can tell a lot about a person based on how they treat others. People might act nice and polite to those they want to impress, but they are nasty to service workers and individuals they deem “below them”. True kindness is helping everyone, not just a select few. Martin learned this the hard way when a selfish choice cost him the love of his life. This story was inspired by a reader of AmoMama, where it was originally published.
The Old Woman With No Bus Fare
Martin checked the time again. He was almost done with his bus route, but the minutes seemed to stretch on and on. He had an important date at that time and he was a bundle of nerves. Then the snow began to fall and every car on the road started to drive at a snail’s pace. Martin gritted his teeth, frustrated that the first snowfall of the winter occurred at the worst possible moment.
He pulled up to the next bus stop, and several people got on, followed by an old woman carrying several shopping bags. She couldn’t find her wallet in her purse, so she started looking through each bag. Martin tapped his fingers against the steering wheel, wishing she would hurry up. The bus door was still open and freezing air was blowing into his face.
The woman smiled apologetically. “I’m so sorry. I’ll find my wallet in a moment.” But several moments later, she still couldn’t find it. Her smile faded to distress. “I must’ve dropped it back at the mall. Oh no, where’s my phone?”
“If you can’t pay the fare, get off the bus,” said Martin impatiently.
“Please,” the woman begged. “It’s so cold outside. My home’s only five stops away.”
“Then walk,” said Martin. “Save your sob story for some other sucker.”
“I can’t walk that far; I had knee surgery. Please, it’s so cold.”
“Go scam someone else,” Martin shouted. “Go on! Get off my bus!”
Fighting back tears, the old woman gathered her bags and walked out into the snow. As he pulled away from the curb, he glanced back and felt a little bad to see her look so sad and alone. But when he checked the time, his jitters returned and he forgot all about her.
Meeting His Fiancee’s Parents
By the time his route ended, Martin was already late. He rushed home to shower and dress, overthinking every detail of his wardrobe. He was going to meet his fiancee’s parents for the first time and he needed to make a good impression. Gina was an only child and she warned him that her parents scrutinize her partners but Martin had nothing to worry about. Even if her parents didn’t like him, she’ll love him no matter what. Martin just felt lucky to be dating Gina. She was caring, beautiful, smart, and way out of his league, according to his friends.
Martin felt out of breath when he arrived at Gina’s parent’s home. It was much bigger and fancier than he expected and this only added to his nerves. But when Gina answered the door, he felt slightly at ease. She reminded him she was going to stand by him no matter what. Then she led him into the parlor and introduced him to her mother, an elegant woman who welcomed him a little stiffly. “I’m sorry my husband isn’t home yet. He went to pick up his mother.”
“That’s all right,” said Martin. To avoid awkward silence, he complimented the house, particularly the painting over the mantle. Gina’s mother warmed up a bit as she motioned him forward to show him the intricate detail. Martin didn’t know much about art, but he managed to say wow at the right moment and ask the right questions.
Then he noticed several framed photos of Gina and her parents. And one of the old woman from the bus. Gina’s mother noticed him looking at it and said, “That’s my mother-in-law. You’ll meet her in a moment. Poor thing lost her wallet and phone and got caught in the snow today.”
“That’s the bus driver!”
Martin looked around for an excuse to leave but suddenly the front door opened. Gina’s father entered, helping the old woman inside. Gina rushed to her side with a blanket to cover the shivering woman. “Oh, Gran! Why didn’t you take the bus?”
“I tried,” she replied. “But my wallet was gone and the bus driver refused to listen to me. I was stuck outside for so long until a nice woman lent me her phone…” She froze as she and Martin locked eyes. “What are you doing here?”
“Gran, this is my—”
“That’s the bus driver!” the old woman shouted. “He accused me of scamming him and told me to walk home in the snowstorm!”
Gina turned to Martin. “You were the one who didn’t let her on the bus?”
“I didn’t know it was your grandmother,” Martin tried to explain, but Gina looked even more furious.
“Oh, so if you knew it was my grandmother, you would have let her on, but otherwise you have no qualms about telling any other elderly woman to walk home in the snow?”
Martin tried to apologize but Gina refused to hear it. She handed him back her engagement ring. “Get out. I don’t want to see you again. I’ll never marry someone so cruel.” There was nothing Martin could do. This time, he was the one forced out into the snow. He wished he could take back his unkindness but it was too late.
This story was inspired by an original piece of fiction that first appeared on AmoMama. Any similarities between this story and actual people are purely coincidental.