We had a moment on the bus yesterday. As I sat holding Marshall on my lap, on a very crowded 36 bus leaving Forest Hills, the woman sitting in front of me started confronting a girl with her young child: “Did you just say you was going to hit him?” The girl shot back, “Did you see me hit him? DID you see me hit him?”
“That’s a threat.”
“Did you see me hit him?”
“You’re in public and you can’t be doing that.”
“You put your headphones back on and mind your business.”
“This IS my business. You’re in public now and I don’t know what you do when you get your boy home.”
“I’m his sister…”
“Oh, you his sister? Well I bet you think you’re so tough threatening that little boy like that.”
It went on like that for a couple of minutes until there was silence and eventually the girl got off the bus. I looked back, half expecting to see her smack the boy or something but she looked pretty subdued and relieved to be off the bus. I think, on balance, the lady in front of me prevailed and successfully schooled this girl on what won’t be tolerated.
Now some people would say, “that’s why I don’t ride the bus.” But I saw something positive in this…just like how I see people offering up their seats (occasionally) and generally behaving with courtesy and respect. Don’t think I’m crazy–there are plenty of exceptions and disgusting behaviors that do not surprise me when they happen. But the majority of time, there is a code and you can rely on other people to support and stand up for what’s right. So I appreciate what that woman did…and I was impressed by how she did not back down but also did not escalate things into a real situation.