As most of you know, I travel to work by bus three days a week, I also return by a later bus. Unfortunately the return bus is at the same time as the local High School children come out after lessons. The bus stop is always crowded by extremely exuberant teenagers, glad to be able to “let off a bit of steam”, there is usually a lot of pushing, shoving, shouting and giggling, no real harm but it can be a bit alarming to some of the elderly people waiting.
A few months ago the chaos in the bus shelter seemed noisier and more lively than usual. After a while I could see what was causing the extra excitement. In the middle of the pushing and shoving was a much smaller boy from the Junior school trying to defend a case containing a musical instrument. I immediately saw that the young lad was being intimidated by the teenagers as they pretended to kick the case, so I bent down, picked it up and kept it until the teens got on to their earlier bus, then I handed it back. Apparently the young lad, David, had started trumpet lessons and he had been allowed to take the instrument home to practise. I had not noticed him before even though he was the only child to get on my bus which was always late.
We have travelled on the same bus for many months now, as this bus is always late ( we have to be there on time just in case it is on schedule) so we have a chance to chat. I am sure that his parents had warned him about talking to strangers, so it was quite a few weeks before he decided that grey haired old ladies were safe to talk to. Now as I walk towards the shelter and the general chaos of teen activity this small chap will come out shouting “it’s 19 minutes late”.After the others get on their bus he will tell me about his day, how he is getting on with the trumpet lessons which he finds it very hard, the trouble he has with a very bossy younger sister, I tell him that he is lucky that she is not the eldest as it would be worse, we chat about this and that until the bus arrives when he scoots off to the”Cool”seats at the back of the bus while I gratefully sink into one of the seats for the elderly.
It is getting very near Christmas and I am receiving lots of present from friends that I have made at work, it is really kind of them. This has got me thinking, years ago I used to give little presents of sweets or chocolates to children that I knew, not only relatives but also to children that I saw regularly. Because of the present climate of frightening publicity regarding the “grooming” of children by perverts, I cannot give anything to this young friend without the possibility of it being completely misunderstood. I find this state of affairs extremely sad and quite distressing.