An Older Man Cussed At Me A Lot On The Bus & My Mom Came To The Rescue
I got more F’s than a kid flunking all his classes.
I get off the train after a 1 and a half hour ride with no sleep and quite a headache. The following bus ride home takes an hour. Riveting.
Having done this before, I head to the longest seat at the back of the bus to lie down and get some shut-eye. There’s an older couple in the seat in front of me; the woman’s asleep leaning against her partner.
About 2 minutes go by and the guy in front turns and taps me on the knee. He begins to swear like a mad man, dropping every f-bomb in his arsenal. Pardon his French right? He’s telling me I’m being disrespectful by putting my feet on the seats. What if my shoes were dirty and etc. He wasn’t calling me names or anything but boy was he using a lot of swear words. He told me to get off the bus, or at least out of his sight. His lady was still asleep amazingly.
Everyone on the bus, and China, could hear the conversation and looked over. At this point I sit and half-heartedly apologise. While he’s swearing, I tell him that I’m pretty happy where I am, thank you very much, and I’ll sit right here. Eventually, he cools off.
Things are quiet again for a minute or two. I’m embarrased but reflect on what happened. I come to the conclusion: No, he was right.
I tap him on the shoulder, apologise wholeheartedly and thanked him for disciplining me. I tell him he was right. I put out my hand to shake his, not knowing whether or not he would reciprocate the gesture. He did.
We start talking. He said he was Scottish and that’s why he spoke French the way he did. Okay. But in all seriousness, he stuck his hand out again and introduced himself properly and asked about me. I introduced myself and the conversation just kept going.
Keep in mind I did give him feedback and said maybe he could have approached it in a friendlier way given I’m a stranger. He didn’t agree, but I said what I needed to. Move along.
We talked the entire bus ride and had a few laughs. It was great.
Nearly an hour goes by and he was getting ready to get off the bus. Before he stood up, he stuck his hand out again and we shook hands.
I wasn’t expecting that and genuinely didn’t care if he hadn’t. It’s not what I was aiming for.
Regardless, he said he was sorry for handling things in that manner. I told him no stress, reminding him that he was right regardless. We exchanged numbers before he got off the bus with his partner.
This man may not have disciplined me in the most ‘respectable’ way, but my mom raised me to respect my elders and, outside of a violation of human rights, to do that no matter what. She also taught me that just because someone acts a certain way, doesn’t mean I should react the same.
I can’t control anyone’s actions but my own.
One last thing Mom taught me is to be genuine about apologies. Don’t apologise with expectations or to be the ‘bigger person’.
Doing things for the sake of being the bigger person does not make you the bigger person.
The man was right, and in my mind, apologising was the right thing to do.
I, like anyone else, definitely struggle with respect and apologies at times. But one thing to keep in mind is that we shouldn’t respect people because they respect us. That’s not respect, that’s entitlement. Rather, we should respect people. Period.
Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or @chachimaki. Peace ✌️
P.S: Love you loads, Mom.