Eric moved to a small town and loved being a bus driver. He noticed a crying old lady at a specific bus stop one day. She was there every day almost at the same time but never got in. He met her one day at the end of his shift and asked her why she cried. Her answer was staggering.
“Living in a small town is so much better than the city, Mrs. Davenport,” Eric told one of his patrons. He had recently moved from New York City to Greenport, New York, and loved it. He had been a bus driver in the big city but wanted a change of pace, so this move was perfect.
This small town allowed him to learn the names of some of his patrons and get some human contact. Everyone in New York City was so busy that they didn’t care for chitchat. It got lonely, so Eric made a big decision and didn’t regret it, although he was relatively new to town.
He had already met a few great people, such as Mrs. Davenport, who also sat near him and told him about her day. She was also a great listener, and he couldn’t have been happier.
“Why don’t get on the bus? What are you waiting for?” he wondered, looking at her with his earnest expression. The older woman stared back and something about his eyes made her want to answer.
But during his first day at work, he reached a bus stop and saw an older woman crying right in front. Eric wanted to help her, mainly because it was snowing heavily, but he had no idea what to do. Maybe he could talk to her when she got on the bus. However, she never got in. She walked in the other direction when he opened the doors and didn’t look back.
He eventually asked Mrs. Davenport about it, but she had no idea who he was talking about. “Where did you see her?” she wondered, and he explained exactly what bus stop she had been at. “Well, that’s actually near the nursing home, so it’s not that surprising. She might be confused or grieving her late husband.”
“Oh, that’s terrible. They shouldn’t let her out without supervision. She could hurt herself,” Eric commented while driving and greeting all the new passengers.
“It happens. We’ll all be in her shoes one day, I guess,” Mrs. Davenport shrugged and finally got off at her bus stop.
Eric saw the same old lady at the same spot at the same time every single day for a week, and she was always crying. But one day, she wasn’t there for some reason. He started to worry and hoped that someone at the nursing home was looking out for her.
But when his day ended, he was on his way back to the terminal when he saw the woman at the same bus stop. Although he was breaking protocol, he stopped the vehicle and approached the woman who was crying as she sat on the bench.
“Ma’am. Are you alright? Can I help you with anything?” Eric asked, trying to be as gentle as possible.
The older lady looked up and shook her head. “No, there’s nothing you can do.”
“Do you live in the nursing home? Do you want me to accompany you there?” he continued, trying anything to get her to open up.
She shook her head again. “I don’t want to return there so soon.”
Eric sat down next to her and talked about himself to put her at ease. “I’m Eric, by the way. I just moved to town a few weeks ago and started my route recently. I’ve met some great people, and I’ve seen you at this bus stop every day since. But today you were a little late. Why?”
“Oh, you noticed me. I fell asleep at the home,” the older lady stated, getting a handkerchief from her purse and wiping her tears. “I should probably go now.”
“Wait, ma’am. What’s your name?”
“I’m Rose Lindell. Nice to meet such a kind young man,” she answered and stood up.
“Wait, again. I’m sorry, Mrs. Lindell. But I have to ask… why don’t you get on the bus? What are you waiting for?” he wondered, looking at her earnestly.
The older woman stared back, and something about his eyes made her want to answer. “My grandson left me here. He told me he would pick me up as soon as his house was ready for me. It was supposed to take a few weeks. It’s been months, and I haven’t heard from him.”
“You mean he just left you at this nursing home? Just like that?” Eric questioned, feeling awful that the woman had gone through that.
“Yes, he did. I sold my house and gave him everything so he could start a business. In return, I was supposed to live with his family. But he hasn’t come. I wait for him at the bus stop every day. I don’t think he’s coming back anymore. But the route you drive leads right to my house. I miss it dearly,” Mrs. Lindell explained, her tears starting up again.
Eric couldn’t believe that her grandson had done something so heinous after she sacrificed for him. It was terrible. “Listen, why don’t you come with me? Have dinner at my house? I just have to drive my bus to the terminal, and we can walk to my home. I’ll drive you back in my car later,” Eric offered, hoping his kindness would ease her pain.
The old lady nodded and finally got on the bus with him. They took the bus to the terminal for the night and walked to his place. But as Eric reached his doorstep, he realized that Mrs. Lindell had stopped on the sidewalk.
“What’s going on?” he asked, concerned.
“You live here?”
“This is… was my house,” Mrs. Lindell stated, shocking Eric. He couldn’t believe such a coincidence and felt guilty in a way for buying her house. Her tears started flowing again, and he couldn’t resist the urge to hold the woman. They stayed outside on the sidewalk in an emotional embrace for several minutes.
When she calmed down, Eric whispered, “Why don’t we go in?”
The older woman nodded and smiled. They had dinner, and Eric told her to stay in his second bedroom for the night. She agreed reluctantly, and he could tell that she was glad to be in her house.
Meanwhile, he tossed and turned all night thinking about this predicament and made a decision by morning.
“Mrs. Lindell, would you like to live here with me? I lost my mother when I was younger, and I’ve been without any family since then. A little company might be nice, and that way, you can stay in this house,” Eric offered, smiling at the older lady as they had breakfast.
Mrs. Lindell’s eyes watered. “Young man. I don’t have any money for rent. Only my pension. Is that okay?”
“Don’t worry about it. We’ll figure it out,” he continued.
“Thank you,” she breathed and began to weep once again. But hopefully, she would not be crying anymore in the future.
Eric took her to the nursing home to get her things, and they never looked back. Mrs. Lindell was a great cook, and eventually, she felt like a mother to him. They never heard from her grandson ever again.