“Ay em sohree. I’m sorry. Ani mevakesh slicha.” The words sputtered forth over the crackle of the loudspeaker. Students looked up from their iPhones. A ninety three year old, teetering in the aisles, attempted to adjust her hearing aids. What was that? The bus driver’s voice went on, more clearly now. “I’m sorry. I feel terrible. How could I not have realized?”
Realize? What could he finally have…? Could it be?
“My run begins at the top of Rechov Strauss,” he went on to say. “With my bus parked, ready to roll, and ready to roll, and ready to roll… I sometimes simply need, to finish my coffee, my newspaper, my afternoon siesta, or to take that last puff on my cigarette.
“How could I have been so uncaring? For every moment that I dilly dallied, how much aggravation did I cause all of you huddled masses waiting anxiously beneath the blazing sun? No, there is nothing wrong with the electronic signs that keep extending your wait time. It was me; oblivious me. No, selfish me; along with my fellow drivers. Oh, how many children did I keep waiting for their mothers to arrive home? How many missed appointments did I cause?”
This now, was too much. Savta, on her way home from the shuk, dropped one of her bags, and as her fellow passengers scrambled to pick up the rolling oranges, the driver continued.
“Everyone knows that in all of Jerusalem, there is no line like the 13. In Katamon, it is the only bus available to take you to town, arriving every fifteen long minutes on a good day, two buses tailing each other on others. No accordions here, just a single bus, packed to the gills, zigzagging along, through the narrow streets; seventy year olds, offering their seats to eighty year olds, and eighty nine year olds, to those their senior. No way to get to Canyon Hadar, just down the road, or anywhere in Talpiot, without a circuitous venture back in time.
“I am aware of what is going on, and so are my fellow bus drivers. But, not to worry, it’s time that we made it up to you. We’re going to bat for you. Drivers and passengers united for Katamon will together petition Egged and the Misrad Ha’tachburah for the changes to this route that must happen immediately. Kadima!
Amidst the stunned hush that had descended upon the riders, a solitary clap echoed from the back of the bus. Others quickly joined in, until it nearly shook with cheers and thundering applause. With the bus idling at a stop, the driver rose, and with a twinkle in his eye, took a deep bow. Everyone knew that change was on the way.
Now, buoyed by a future of pleasant, convenient, and timely transportation, the wheels of the bus continued round, round, round, as did the minds and hearts of those aboard, suddenly aware of the changes they too could, and would make this year.
Together hopeful, they rode off into a year filled with goodness and sweetness. Tachel shana u’birchoteha.