The bus was full, people on their way to work, or school. Most faces were grim and stared forward as I made my way down the aisle, looking for a seat. It was a Monday, people lost in their own worlds, automatons on auto-pilot, going through the necessary routine we call life.
One person looked at me, and smiled, and said a big Hello! He went out of his way to make room on his seat, and motioned for me to sit. He talked all the way to our destination, and laughed, and was so full of life I couldn’t help but be inspired by, and effected by his charisma. His stop came first, and he grabbed his bags, and gave me a hug, and wished me well. He said goodbye to the people who ignored him as he walked out of the bus, and my life.
Some of those people returned his gesture with a self conscious smile, or a nod, but most ignored him. He didn’t notice, just continued to live, and love, and enjoy every moment. He made me wonder which of us was handicapped. I still wonder.
Children like him are wasting away in orphanages all over Eastern Europe. These little miracles have more to offer humanity than we will ever know. By helping them, we help us all. I was forever changed by a kind little man with Down’s, on a bus on his way to work, who made me stop and think about what I was missing. That was thirty years ago, and his memory lives with me every moment of every day, especially when I need to be reminded to live in the moment, and embrace things and people I would otherwise miss.
I couldn’t begin to tell the story as well as people who are blessed with a person with Down’s Syndrome in their lives, so I won’t try.
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