My first bus trip in a foreign land was an overnight into Mexico City from Vera Cruz. There was some discrepancy on my ticket and I spent most of the night standing in the aisle of that double-booked diesel. I swayed through the night, slumbering on my feet through town after darkened town. We crested a ridge at dawn and dropped down into the ancient crater that is Mexico City.

The bus station was on the edge of town. I had an afternoon flight to New Orleans and all day to cross the city. I was poor in those days and traveled on a tight budget. Down to a five-dollar bill and a meager handful of centavos, I decided to hold the five for lunch and struck out on foot, marking my way by the passenger jets that descended on a distant horizon. After two hours walking, the planes were still toys in the distance and everyone I stopped to ask for directions laughed and said, “Taxi, taxi!”

In a quiet municipal park, I asked an elegant, aging little man for directions to the aeropureto. He was French. Through sign language and broken Spanish and patience, I got through to him that I had no pesos and no comprehension of the city bus system.

He guided me with a gentle hand on my elbow to a corner bus stop and pulled a plastic bag as long as my arm from his suit coat pocket. He fished out a worn peso and waited with me for a bus with Aeropuerto emblazoned across the front headpiece.

He smiled and waved as I watched him recede into the distance. A wizened little blue-eyed Frenchman in a thread-worn suit. I have thought of him often through the course of my journeys. In a world gone to hell, random acts of kindness give me great hope.

Carey Richard is the author of The Poppy Field Diary available on Kindle or paperback.

One Commentto Kindness

  1. S. Clement says:

    We would all do well to strive to be anonymously remembered by a complete stranger in a foreign land many years down the road.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *