A First-Time Bus Monitor Shares Her Experience
“I used to live in those apartments,” nine-year-old Vanessa said pointing out the bus window as we rumbled by. “Well, I’ve lived in a lot of places, actually.”
She began ticking them off on her fingers as she listed them, “At Whispering Palms, we lived in Trailer #2, #22, #23, then our truck and then we moved to Green Meadows. Now our trailer is after four speedbumps and the fourth on the left.”
My heart broke as she matter-of-factly recounted her living arrangements which so casually included “our truck.” Not sure what to say, I tried to focus on the positive and answered, “Four and then fourth – that makes it easy to remember.”
“And then on the left.” She corrected me, clearly delighted that I was listening enough to remember where she lived now.
As I pondered her comments, grasping for the right thing to say, she continued happily on. I realized I didn’t have to say the “right thing” she was just thrilled to have someone who would listen. She chattered on about life and peppered me with questions about random things until we got to her stop. She gathered up her candy and handouts and an extra sandwich from breakfast and looked back at me with a last shy smile before she climbed down the bus steps with her arms full of OCC treasures.
Funny to think how intimidated I felt when I first climbed on the empty bus. But as it began to fill up, I offered a friendly smile and hello which elicited nods from the kids. If they seemed to get loud, I just walked over and sort of stood in the vicinity – asking a friendly question to engage them. By the end of the trip, they where chattering happily with me about their lives, their families, their favorite things. It was so easy – all I did was smile and listen.