“All you have to say is ‘Thank You,’” he said, as I breathlessly arrived at the bus stop.
“Thank you,” I said, with a look of bewilderment.
“If I hadn’t been here, the bus would have passed on without you. I know what that’s like, so all you have to do is be grateful that I was here, so you won’t have to miss the bus,” he continued.
I could tell my fellow public transit patron had watched me run down the hill with my backpack, and saw how I anxiously crossed the intersection—prepared to wave down the bus, if needed.
“I haven’t been in this country long, and I missed the bus on the way to work one day. I was at the stop, and the bus went the other way. I tried to run after it, and it made no difference. I couldn’t figure out why the bus driver was treating me this way,” my new friend shared as we waited for the bus together.
My heart rate was too high to stand still, so I side-stepped in place to help my body recognize the nearly 15 minutes of running and power-walking up and down hills in more layers of wool than necessary, had come to an end.
“I started walking and I saw a cab, and I realized I didn’t have any cash. Thankfully, the cab driver had a credit card swipe to charge my fare. But I didn’t know the address of my work, nor did I know the route from the bus. I told the driver where I worked, and he somehow knew where to go. Later he told me he worked in a company close by and that he knew enough to figure it out. I was a few minutes late to work, but that day he was there for me. God put him there for me to get to work,” my friend concluded.
I was in awe of the detail, energy and emotion with which he told this story. I felt like my “thank you” was not nearly expressive of how appreciative I was for his presence ahead of me at the bus stop. Not only would I have been wondering if the bus had already come, I would have been standing alone if not for him. As my heart rate began to decline, I realized the bus was late. In that moment, I recognized that was the goodness and mercy of God following me today. The bus was late, yet I had someone to encourage me, and empathize with my run to the bus. Even though I ran the whole way, I was thankful all the way to the stop—thankful that my body worked, thankful that I found my bus pass (which I previously thought was packed, and yet was not—hence the dash back home), and most importantly, I was thankful to see the power of those two words, “thank you,” in my bus stop conversation.
When we saw the bus arriving, I told my friend I wanted to pay for his ticket as an expression of my gratitude. He mistakenly thought I was asking him to pay for my ticket, which he was happy to do. As we pulled out our cards, I could see his balance and noticed he would only have 25 cents left over if he had covered both our fares and transfers. Thankfully, I was able to ask again to cover his fare, and he let me. I saw in that moment, how God truly does work all things together for our good. I was able to make it to the bus and my friend was able to have his fare covered, blessings that encouraged both of us to know there is still hope in the world because we are part of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth.
Even with the late departure from our stop, I was able to catch my transfer and reach my evening meeting on time. While I don’t know for certain, I choose to believe the same outcome or better happened for my friend. An attitude of gratitude allowed me to be at ease in otherwise tense situations later that evening. And I was also able to become more confident, recognizing I can do all things through Christ because His anointing strengthens me. Running to the stop was just one way I could see God faithfully providing for me—energy, endurance, perseverance, and in this case a witness to His faithfulness too.