Justin would take the bus home every day after school and his peers often made fun of him. One day, the driver noticed a little too late that he didn’t get off at the final stop, and the reason surprised him.
At 13 years old, Justin had difficulty making friends no matter where he went. He grew up in a low-income family and was raised by a single mother.
Because of their financial status, children often made fun of him at school. They would mock his old clothes from him and make fun of his hand-me-down bag, which had another boy’s name printed on it.
Justin kept himself through the years because of how other kids treated him. However, he had enough one day and came home crying. “Mom,” he called. “I can’t take it anymore,” he told her when he got home.
Justin was mocked by other kids on his school bus, and the driver did nothing about it. | Source: Pexels
“What’s the matter, Justin?” his mom, Lisa, asked him as he sobbed on their couch.
“The kids at school are so cruel. It’s not my fault that we’re not as rich as them. Why do they have to make fun of me for not having money? I’m still human; I deserve respect too,” he cried out. “Please, get me out of that place. I can’t take it anymore. Please, mom, please, listen to me,” Justin pleaded.
Seeing her son in so much pain also hurt Lisa. She blamed herself quietly for not being able to give him a better life, but she just had no choice. She was trying her best to keep both of them afloat, working multiple jobs every day.
Lisa agreed to take Justin out of his old school and transferred him to a different one where he started junior high. Unfortunately, his troubles did not end.
Justin felt terrible that his schoolmates would always make fun of him. | Source: Pexels
One day, as he was heading back home on a school bus, the driver noticed the other kids laughing at him.
“What are you doing in school? You can’t even afford to buy yourself clothes! You look like you’re about to go to bed with your ripped shirt,” his classmate teased.
“Maybe we shouldn’t be donating our old clothes to orphanages. We have our own charity case right here!” another chimed in.
The driver felt sorry for him, but he made no effort to find out what happened or intercede for him. He chose to remain neutral. He didn’t want to be bothered by it, choosing only to focus on what he was paid for — to drive.
The children who rode the bus every day liked Carl that way. They liked that he never minded what they did on the bus and they treated him like a friend.
Carl’s job was such a routine for him that he did the same thing every day. As the children got on the bus daily, he would greet them and remind them of that one broken seat on his bus: “Don’t forget that the fifth seat is broken! Skip it and be careful!”
Yet, the children never listened, and someone would always end up sitting on the broken seat and falling down. It was the same scenario every day.
Carl would always just talk to the kids from his driver’s seat. | Source: Pexels
Once he arrived at the final stop, he would step out for a cup of coffee. This last stop was where Justin usually got off.
However, on one particular day, the driver returned to the bus from his coffee stop 15 minutes after parking it on the side of the road and noticed that Justin was still inside. As he boarded the bus while sipping his coffee, he jumped at the sight of the boy.
“Good God, young man! What are you still doing here?” Carl asked him and Justin remained silent, appearing busy with something.
Carl moved closer and saw that Justin had been fixing the broken seat. “Why are you doing that?” Carl asked. “Did you fall on that seat today?
Carl was surprised to see Justin still inside the bus when he returned with his coffee. | Source: Pexels
Justin shook his head. “No, I just decided to finally repair it because I don’t want anyone to fail anymore, and so you don’t have to keep reminding us every day about it. Look – it took me ten minutes to fix it. That’s definitely a lot less effort than saying ‘don’t forget that the fifth seat is broken’ every single day.”
Carl was impressed and ashamed that a little boy had to take over a job he neglected to do, even though it was his responsibility. “How did you learn to fix things that way?” I have decided to ask Justin.
“It’s just my mom and me at home. I’ve had to learn to do many things to help her because she’s always been busy with work, and I didn’t want to burden her with things as simple as repairing broken items at home ,” Justin shared.
With that, he silently walked out the door without Carl even muttering a simple “thank you.”
Justin walked home with a smile on his face, knowing he was able to solve a persistent problem. | Source: Pexels
As the children boarded the bus the next day, they were surprised by Carl’s silence. He did not mention his usual phrase about the broken seat, and the kids were surprised why.
“Hey, you forgot to warn us about the seat today!” one of them told him. Still ashamed to admit that Justin fixed it and not him, Carl just bowed his head as he waited for everyone to settle in.
After a while, the kids started yelling: “Wow! Carl finally repaired the seat! We all knew you were a cool man. You finally did it! Thanks, Carl!”
Hearing this, Justin sat and stared quietly out the window. He wasn’t expecting Carl to correct the kids, but he did.
“Kids, it wasn’t me,” he said, approaching Justin. “I’m so ashamed to say this, but I learned an incredible life lesson yesterday. This boy right here, the one you’ve been making fun of, HE made an effort to fix the seat.”
Carl admitted it was Justin who fixed the chair, and not him. | Source: Pexels
There was an audible gasp from inside the bus. The children couldn’t believe that Justin dared to fix the broken seat that had been left that way for months.
“You see, he is much more of a man than I am. I simply wanted to do my job – which was to drive. I shrugged off the responsibility of fixing the seat, thinking I wasn’t being paid for that. Meanwhile, Justin here decided to fix it, not for himself, but because he cared for all of you. He didn’t want anyone to get hurt anymore,” Carl explained.
Since then, the children felt terrible for ever judging Justin. They apologized to him and thanked him for staying kind of even when others weren’t kind to him.
In the end, the children on the bus became friendly to Justin. They even helped him out by surprising him with a gift box filled with new things he could use to replace his old and worn-out belongings of him.
What can we learn from this story?
- Looks can be disappointing. Justin looked poor, and because of this, people made fun of him and didn’t want to be his friend. Meanwhile, the children like Carl for being carefree, allowing them to be themselves on the bus. In the end, it was Justin who showed his genuine kindness by repairing the broken chair when Carl, who was supposed to be responsible for it, did not.
- Maturity doesn’t always come with age. At 13, Justin was already so mature. He strived to become a rock for his single mother of her, helping her in any way he could. He was always kind to others too even when they weren’t kind to him. And when Carl chose to look the other way when kids mocked him or when the broken seat kept harming the kids, it was Justin who stepped up and fixed it.
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