The bus ride

One typical rainy spring evening in Rijeka, I was sitting on bus number 18 going home after a long day—at least, I thought it was bus 18. There were about 30 other passengers on the bus, equally tired and impatient to get home.

As we reached a crossroads, instead of turning right as usual, the bus took a left. Did I get on the wrong bus? I was about to ask when other passengers started shouting to the bus driver, “Where are you going?” So at least I was on the right bus after all.

However, now the bus driver was getting panicky. The bus was over 30 meters long, making course corrections tricky, and the fact that he was being screamed at wasn’t helping matters. I knew of situations like this where the passengers screamed, yelled, and even threatened to beat up the driver.

Fortunately that’s not what happened this evening. The complainers went quiet when a few other passengers called out in encouraging tones, “Don’t worry about it, we all make mistakes. There’s a roundabout ahead where we can turn around.” Sure enough, two minutes later the bus was back on its way in the right direction.

How many times in life do we make a wrong turn on the way to reaching our goals? We wouldn’t get very far if each time we made a mistake we started yelling, protesting, and complaining, or blaming and judging somebody for the difficult place we find ourselves in. Neither would lamenting get us moving any sooner.

On the other hand, once we recognize we’re off track, we can encourage ourselves (or those around us when they make a mistake) that not all is lost—like those good-natured people on the bus that evening. Then we can turn around and get going back in the right direction.