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In A Bus

'In A Bus'

An incident that happened back in 1964, when I took a

Greyhound Bus up to Northern California, thinking that I

would like to take some pictures of the tall Redwood Forest.

The giant Sequoias. I stayed a while to photograph some of the

trees and surrounding areas, being careful not to drift too far

from the roads.

The first leg of this journey was Santa Monica

to San Francisco. When I was in Frisco, I bought the round

trip ticket to the Redwood area. When I got back to San

Francisco, after eating something (had to, I was starving), I

completely forgot about the return ticket fee which I would have

to pay to get back to Santa Monica. To my shock I saw that I

only had enough for a ticket, just a little more than a third of the

distance!! The bus was soon to depart and I had to make a

decision quick. I purchased a ticket to San Luis Obispo. I get

on the bus, San Luis Obispo is the next stop and I'm glued

to my seat faking a sleep. The bus driver does the

count - Counting heads as he walked up and down the aisle. He

pauses a few seconds as if in afterthought. I'm watching the

scene through a squint. He returns to the driver's seat, and off

we go.

The next stop, the same procedure and I'm still

awake, nervous, feeling the horror of being discovered and

being asked to leave the bus in the middle of the night. There

must have been at least 4 or 5 more stops before reaching Santa


It was about four in the morning, the city was asleep, but

I was wide awake and so glad to "come home". Such a relief that

I didn't have to spend the night in some jail for loitering. I

thanked the bus driver as pleasantly as I could, but I don't think

he realized that I was thanking him doubly.

Such a moment in

life when I feel so proud to be a citizen of a country that

believes in the term - "the exception to the rule". I think the

bus driver understood that someone was "free riding", and I

think he understood that the person was desperate to get home.

The bus driver had the heart and the wisdom to help. He

probably understood that being stuck in "no-mans-land" in the

middle of the night, is no fun at all. This is one of the reasons

why I "give my art to the world". I have a lot to be grateful for.

- Author: Carl D. Toothman -

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