Penny’s Ring

While driving Route 7 one Saturday, for a couple of loops I had noticed Penny wandering around the CSU Transit Center. Penny is a probably in her early 50’s, unkempt, dirty and simple of mind. The last time Penny was on my bus, she shared with me the books she had been using to learn to read. Now that her husband was out of prison it wasn’t uncommon to see them going places together.

When I again saw her at the transit center, I got out of my bus to ask her if she was ok. She looked up at me, her dirty face was streaked with tears. In her words, “Wedding ring lost, you help?” My response, “Where did you loose it? I don’t have a lot of time but I can help for a little while.” Pointing at an area that had been back-filled with rocks, “Over there, think maybe.” Not feeling like we would ever find it, I started coursing the area. Even if we didn’t find her ring, I couldn’t ignore the request. We looked until the other busses left and I finally had to tell her I had to go. In a shaky voice she said “You go, I look, thank-you to help.” As I headed for my bus, a glint of light caught my eye. Is it just a piece of broken glass? No, it was Penny’s ring! All this time one of the busses had been stopped over top of it. It was laying in a grease spot but otherwise was just fine. I called to her and she came running, her face still streaked with tears, she was now laughing with elation. I handed her the ring and started running for my bus. Over my shoulder I could hear her laughing and shouting thank-yous my way. I wasn’t running so much because I was late, if I had stood there she would have tried to hug me and well, enough said.


I see Walter all over the city, it doesn’t seem to matter what route I’m on, at some point Walter will show up. Walter is a black fellow in his late forties. A religious fellow, Walter has definite opinions about everything and everyone he encounters. He and I get on pretty good and are always finding new ways to poke fun at each other. Walter’s been out of work for some time and can’t always afford to pay his bus fare. I always know when he’s having money trouble with the way he hangs his head and looks at me through the top of his eyes. I just tell him “That’s nothing to be ashamed of, your always welcome on my bus. Pay when you can.” 

I’ve discovered Walter has a bit of a temper. While he and I were talking at the South Transit Center, he jumped up and ran off the bus. Seems there was some little kids (about 10 or 11 years old) outside the bus smoking. Walter felt it was his responsibility to tell them to stop smoking. Further, he went on to tell them what it would do to their health. Once they had put out their cigarettes, Walter felt satisfied enough to get back on the bus. Walter didn’t notice (and I didn’t tell him) that once we had pulled out of the transit center, those same kids picked up their butts and started smoking them again. Like the old saying, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.


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Copyright © 2009 Pokie Parmidge