Taking a Public Bus by Myself
I was six years old when I took a public bus by myself.
However, it was a totally unintended trip.
Mum and I were travelling on the upper deck of a public bus. When we reached our stop, we walked down the steep steps carefully. I was right behind mum on the steps clutching onto her hand. By the time we descended, a swarm of people had entered the bus and suddenly, I let go of mum’s hand. The bus was packed and there were many people between us. I saw mum looking to see that I was still there and I waved to her, asking her to go ahead and that I would follow.
She tapped her fare card, alighted and immediately turned around to reach for my hand. By then, there were so many people in front of me that I could not get to the exit doors. I tried to squirm my way, but just as I was about to reach the door, the bus started moving!
I was shocked. I didn’t know what to do. I saw Mum’s horrified face as the bus moved away from her. She ran after the bus to catch the bus driver’s attention, but it was too late. Within a few seconds, the bus was on the expressway, going really fast. I was in a state of frenzy. I had never been by myself on a public bus before.
I tried to calm myself and think about what I should do next. I also tried to guess what Mum might do. I guessed that she might get into the next bus or in a taxi to catch up with me, so I decided to alight at the next stop. However, the distance between the two stops was great, and it was almost ten minutes before the bus reached the next stop. I quickly tapped my fare card and alighted, my heart thumping in a completely unfamiliar surrounding.
I sat at the bus stop pondering what to do next. How long should I wait? What if Mum was not in another bus or in a taxi headed towards me? What if she had gone to the bus terminal instead? What if she had gone to the police station instead? Questions of how to get to mum was racing through my mind.
Ten minutes passed. I was beginning to perspire now, not just because it was a hot day, but also because I was feeling the panic rise.
An elderly lady at the bus stop smiled at me kindly. Perhaps she was amused that I was travelling by myself. I decided to ask her for help.
“Excuse me, can you help me? I’m lost.” I asked the lady earnestly..
“Oh, you are?” She exclaimed in surprise.
“Yes, my mother alighted from the bus at the last stop, but before I could alight, the bus started moving.” As i explained to the lady, i could feel tears welling up in my eyes.
“Oh dear! Okay, let’s see, do you know your mother’s mobile phone number?” She asked.
Mum had made me memorise both her and dad’s mobile phone numbers at a very young age, so I knew them by heart. I gave the lady Mum’s number and she carefully keyed each number into her phone..
“It’s ringing…” The lady said. I could my heart beating fast.
“Pick up, Mum. Please pick up.” I muttered under my breath.
“It’s still ringing…” The lady said. Why wasn’t Mum picking up? I thought, feeling nervous.
At that very moment, a taxi stopped at the bus stop and out jumped… MUM!
“MUM!” I shouted and ran towards her.
She hugged me tightly without saying a word. While i felt a great sense of relief, I could see tears filling up mum’s eyes.
“I’m fine, Mum. The lady here was trying to help me.”
Mum shook the lady’s hand and thanked her profusely.
“Well, I didn’t do much. He’s a brave and clever boy.” The lady said.
Mum turned to smile at me. I resolved never to let go of her hand again.