Wednesday, October 22, 2008 | By: Tonya Keitt Kalule

The Gift that keeps on Giving

There is this wonderful and very excitable Vietnamese couple that I see every morning taking an early morning walk together. I usually see them at Topanga and Sherman Way in San Fernando Valley as I begin my route at 5:00 in the morning. The lady is a little shy, but has started talking to me more and more. Her husband is one that is full of energy and I believe that he is the one that really started all of this. I see them pretty much every morning and we have all gotten to the point where we look for each other because it is a warm exchange and a great start to the day when you come across people that are nice and engaging. It is actually a disappointment when I don't see them in the morning. Well after Nancy warmed up to me she asked me what size bra did I wear. Of course I thought this was a strange question coming from someone that I hardly know, but she went on to explain that she makes bras and works for an American lingerie company, and we just all laughed. After she asked the question, her husband just sort of looked at me and walked away with this big smile on his face, as if to say, I don't really want to know this information. So when I told her the size she looked closer at my chest area as though she didn't believe me, and I told her that these puppies were well contained, but that was the correct size. She says to me, "but you are skinny", and that is when I hugged and thanked her for calling me skinny; something every woman wants to hear even when it is not true, and in my case it is not true. I am in a size twelve which is fine for my height but I am almost fifty years old and there are quite a few things poking out under there.

The very next morning they were approaching the stop at Topanga as I was also approaching. While I was changing the head sign on the bus in preparation to begin my route they were standing right outside the door. When I opened the door and said good morning I was being handed a small white bag, from no other than her husband. Inside there were two brand new bras in my size. I just laughed about who was actually handing me the package, and I thanked her very much.
What is so wonderful about this is that it reminds me that there are still really good and generous people in this world. I believe that there are more of them than not, but unfortunately the minority of people that set out to do harm to others makes one really weary of all people and keeps you on the defensive. These are the things that I love about my job. I have always really enjoyed people and getting to know them and their lives and discover and understand as well as embrace the differences in our backgrounds, our culture, our ethnicity, etc. None of these things were a factor in this beautiful exchange between an African-American woman and an Asian-American couple. The thing that we have in common is the enjoyment of meeting good people where there is a warm, intelligent, and enlightening exchange that leaves you with restored faith and a smile. This is the beauty that God wants us to see within each other, knowing that we have more in common than not. That people are people, regardless of their ethnicity, religious beliefs, or background; our basic needs are the same.

This is one of the reasons that I absolutely love my job as a metro bus driver. I am fortunate enough to meet all sorts of people from all walks of life, and they greatly outweigh those that are unpleasant to meet. I learn so much from these people and about these people and it further encourages me. The other thing I love about my job is that I have learned a great deal about this city through driving the bus and the various routes. I have learned my way around the city and learned the culture of various neighborhoods, by its inhabitants and the type of businesses that are there.

We are in very difficult times in this country and it is always warming to the heart when you connect with one another. We need that, and it makes whatever it is that you are going through just a little bit easier. It is really easy to smile and say good morning to those that you don't know. To listen when they talk to you, because you don't ever know if your kindness is what makes the difference in their lives, the difference in their day, or change the course of their thoughts and so often there is some sort of impact.

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