Being the change, making a difference (once upon a Knutsford Express trip)
Recently I had an experience that reminded me of the power of being our best selves as often as possible and bringing love and light to situations that need it. I took a trip from Kingston to Savanna-la-mar on Knutsford Express. I slept for most of it. Me mean seh mi sleep till a voice seh “Sleep no more!”’ Can you say ‘pop dung an tiyad’? I got to Sav and I waited to take a taxi to the Sean Lavery Hall where I would be adjudicating speech auditions for JCDC. Westmoreland is my favorite parish to adjudicate, the JCDC Parish Office there is consistently organized and professional, a cut (well actually several cuts) above the rest. Inside the Knutsford Express office there was lady at the counter complaining because apparently she left something on the bus. I listen for a bit, I go to the bathroom, I come back and she is still talking. I went outside, walked around and asked the young lady at the counter to call a taxi for me. She did but it ended up taking much longer than the fifteen minutes promised.
The lady who was complaining was now sitting down, but soon goes back to the counter. I pick up that she shouldn’t have come off the bus. She went to ask a question and they left her, with her bag is on the seat in the bus. By now she’s getting agitated and is tersely snapping at the customer service agent who is the only person on counter duty and dealing with other customers. She, the rep, was patient, polite and very professional.
I overhear the lady’s lament. She is blaming the driver and beginning to berate the CSR. I feel a twinge. Mi seh to myself: Fabian mind yuh business. This doesn’t involve you and your taxi soon come, leave it alone! The lady is getting more upset badgering the customer service agent and saying “Now you’re acting like you don’t even want to answer my question!” Things took a turn for the worse when the CSA explained that her bag which apparently contained perishable food that might have to be taken off the seat and put in the compartment on the outside of the bus where larger luggage were kept. The customer kept saying her stuff was going to be destroyed and that the agent was ignoring her. Mi coulden help it, so mi seh: “To be fair there are several other customers here who need assistance. I overheard a great deal of your conversation and she has been patient and polite.”
She then said “No, no that’s not the point…she’s acting like she doesn’t want to deal with me.”
I said “All she can do is tell you the company policy, which is if someone needs the seat your stuff is on they will have to move it and put it the luggage compartment.”
She proceeded to talk about the driver not announcing the stops I replied that the driver (transportation agent, doan ramp wid Knutsford Express yuh hear!) did announce very clearly what the rest stops were, where passengers could disembark, use the bathroom, buy food, as well the other stops like this one in Sav where only the people at the end of their journey should disembark. She then said “But when I asked him where the office was and he showed it to me why didn’t he tell me?” I explained to her that the driver couldn’t have known that her intention was to ask a question then get back on the bus, so technically she should have explained that to him. I went on to inform her that the driver couldn’t keep track of everyone who is on the bus. That calmed her a little bit but she was upset and agitated. I told her that I understood her frustration, but that the CSA was not to blame. The CSA expressed her gratitude to me. Then:
“But you know my stuff is going to spoil!”
“You know if you get to Gutters then you can get back on the bus and get your stuff.”
“No! The driver must come and get me!”
“I am sorry, that is not our policy, we can’t inconvenience all the other passengers.”
“From mi get inna deh bus deh and see da man deh me know it was going to be a bad day!”
I said to her “Mi know she yuh upset but sometimes we have to pause and acknowledge that we made a mistake. Sometimes we project our energy and emotions on situations. I was on the bus with you and my experience of the driver was very positive. Sometimes we create certain experiences for ourselves, based on what we bring into the space.” She looked at me and sat down. I turned to the customer service agent: “Big up yourself because I know customer service is hard and sometimes a customer tackles you but they are not really vex wid you, but about the situation.” Suddenly the customer started crying. I went over to her, held her hand and said “Take a breath, I’m affirming with you and for you that everything is going to work out. Maybe this happened for a reason. I can feel and see your frustration but all is going to be well. Spirit is with us wherever we are.” She inhaled deeply, squeezed my hand and said “Thank you.”
The taxi finally came and when I was leaving customer service agent thanked me once more and one of the two other customers in the office said to me “Sir, I’ve never seen anyone do anything like that. Yuh is a good man.”
I was blessed and grateful to have been there and that I made the decision to intervene. I hope and pray that more of us step into our power, intervene in situations and be the peace, the love and the light needed to make a positive difference. I know it’s hard, and in Jamaica where there is a fear that if you intervene it can backfire and people start cuss yuh. Add to that the ‘Informer fi dead’ culture, which makes many of us afraid. Trust me, I have no magic bullets or perfect solutions, but I know I was led to stop being a bystander and intervene. It felt good to ignite and engage my purpose as an extension of Spirit. We/I are/am the peace, joy, love and light we want to see.
Blessings to whoever is reading this…you made it to the end! J
Love and light…always