This I Believe

mallory - rainier, Oregon
Entered on June 7, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe you can learn the greatest lessons from the smallest characters in your life. When I was in 9th grade I rode the bus everyday. We had a bus driver who was the crankiest old lady I’ve ever met. She was mean to all the kids who rode the bus. Nobody liked her. Everyday she got made fun of and disrespected. She had really short hair and a permanent frown on her face. She had bushy eyebrows and she glared at every kid from behind large glasses. When the kids on our bus made fun of her I joined in thinking she deserved it because of her attitude towards everyone. I never imagined I would learn something personal about her that would change my thoughts of her.

One day my mom picked me up from dance and she needed to get gas. As she was filling up the car at the A.M. P.M., I ran into the mini mart to get a water bottle. It was around 9 at night and when I went up to the counter to pay for my water bottle, there stood my cranky old bus driver. She was working the night shift. Feeling embarrassed that I had disrespected her on a daily basis and was now face to face with her, I just put my head down and sheepishly paid.

Before I could exit the store, my mom came in to pay for the gas and recognizing the bus driver, said hi and started a small conversation. I stood there quietly hoping the bus driver wouldn’t bring up my unacceptable behavior to my mother. My mom was saying how surprised she was that my bus driver was working the night shift then had to go straight to driving a bus the next morning. It turns out she didn’t only have two jobs but she had a third job during the day.

Feeling ashamed on the ride home, I told my mom what my bus driver was like and how the kids on our bus treated her. It wasn’t her fault she was cranky. She barely ever slept. It wasn’t her fault that life had dealt her a bad hand and she was working three jobs. The next day on the bus I didn’t join in on making fun of her. Instead I tried to stop it. I learned a great lesson from my bus driver. One I took to heart. You can only judge a life when you have seen that life through that person’s eyes. You never know what someone is going through or dealing with. I didn’t know my bus driver’s life story. I didn’t know why she had to take on three different jobs. But it doesn’t matter. It’s not my place to judge and it never was.