This week I decided that I needed to visit my sister in Florida. I also thought it would be a grand idea to take a Greyhound so that I could experience that, for the first time, and write about it. I looked at the ticket and saw that it was going to take 30 hours but that did not phase me. I blew that fact off and pressed purchase.
So Monday morning Mike took me to the bus station. I was perplexed to find out it did not look like any bus station I had seen in the movies or on TV. It was basically a one-room building with a few chairs and some lockers. Okay I thought this is still an experience.
When the bus arrived, everyone literally ran out of the building. I immediately started to worry that I was going to have to sit in the bus equivalent of the middle seat all the way to Florida. But luckily I found a seat and no one sat next to me all the way to our third stop (still in North Carolina). We had to depart the bus as it was time to clean the bus. I stood outside and wished I could be on the road and not standing in a parking lot next to a construction rental store.
A man approached me and started talking about Jesus. He was very nice but I was a little afraid of who I was going to meet on the bus (we have all heard the stories, right?). He kept talking and touching my arm. He told me that he served 23 years in prison and that he was so happy to have found Jesus. He was worried that I had not eaten or had anything to drink. He was very kind and any misconceptions I may have had were dispelled. Then we parted ways.
I met a very large Cuban man at one of the 5-hour layovers. He was worried that I was getting cold outside when he told me there was a sitting room inside. He then kept an eye on me the rest of the trip. I also sat next to a tattooed young man on the way to Orlando who was the most polite young man.
I know that one must be cautious in this day and age. Bad things can happen and I am fairly shut-off to new people, especially when I am by myself but I learned an important lesson on this bus trip. (1) Always read the schedule – a couple of 5-hour layovers can be grueling, (2) You cannot judge a book by its cover and (3) Most Greyhound stops are convenience stores attached to gas stations. There are good people out there and I actually felt safe the entire time I was on the bus or at the terminals.
I cannot honestly say that I enjoyed the 30-hour bus ride, but it was not horrible. The overnight layover was a little hard. It was an interesting trip and I am glad I did it. I am flying, however, back to North Carolina.
Here’s to not judging people due to fear and the unknown and here’s to riding the bus.