Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

May 22, 2018
Strangers on a crowded shuttle reveal the magic of kindness

The bus was full and every seat was occupied. The luggage racks appeared to be over-loaded and there were people standing in the aisle. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a wheelchair being pushed toward the front door of our crammed airport shuttle.

An elderly man with pure, white hair had rolled up. He was sitting in an airport courtesy wheelchair and I watched as an airport attendant slowly positioned him close to the shuttle’s open door. Once stopped, his wife, who was standing at his side, made a labored step up and forward. That single step turned out to be much more than a simple step. It was an inaudible signal of impromptu magic.

Three young men launched from their seats in active greeting. One reached for her hand and gently guided her to his former seat. Another rushed past her to collect the couple’s luggage, while the third showed the skills of a Las Vegas card dealer as he shuffled already stacked bags into a position to accommodate her husband and their added baggage. Space that wasn’t there moments before seemed to wondrously appear. I was watching the magic of human kindness.

“Have you come home?” one of the strangers asked after everyone and everything was settled.

“This is our first leg,” the woman said. “We still need to drive to our home in Rexburg.”

“We’ve been in Austin visiting our daughter,” her husband said. “Austin is a beautiful city. But, we’re glad to be home. We’ve been married and living there for 60 years. Now, we’re starting our next 60 together!”

His wife sighed a little and showed signs of a faint smile as he spoke. She sat quietly, while the rest of her body told the tale of her exhaustion, as the conversation continued past the first stop and on to the next. The next stop ended the talking and was more boisterous. 

The elderly man used two walking sticks to stand. He was sitting in an airport parking shuttle and I watched as he and his wife slowly positioned themselves close to the opening door. Once stopped, his wife, who was standing to his side, made an assisted, labored step down and forward. That single step turned out to be more than a simple step. It was an inaudible signal.

The same three young men launched into active support. One reached for her hand and gently guided her until her feet safely reached the parking lot asphalt. Another rushed past her to collect the couple’s luggage, while the third shuffled their already stacked bags into a position to leave the bus. The space they had occupied, space that wasn’t there moments before, seemed to wondrously glow as a result of their impromptu magic — the magic of human kindness.

Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.

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