Thursday, March 6, 2014

Commuting with Tracy...

This is a bit of a soapbox post, so I'd steer clear if your not up for a good olde fashioned rant! 

If you are a moderately frequent reader you know about my commuter buddy Tracy. He's a 60 something year old mentally handicapped man who rides my bus home every Tuesday-Friday. He gets on in Burien and rides the bus for 10-15 minutes. In that time span he likes to make friends. 

Everyday he asks me "have gum?" "What's for dinner?" 
"Time to go home?" 
"Where's Jim?"
"We there yet?"
"Take selfie?"
"It's wet out/dark out/sunny out" depending on the weather!

This is just Tracy. He likes to ask questions and doesn't need an elaborate answer, just a yes, or no will suffice.He also loves it if you will shake his hand. So he will extend his to you once or twice (or more, if he is feeling extra friendly) in the 10-15 minute ride. 

He looks for me when he gets on the bus and almost always comes to sit right beside me. I don't mind and most days I look forward to my simple conversation with Tracy. 

Several of the people who ride my bus on a fairly regular basis have been being so rude to Tracy lately. When he asks questions they either ignore him or make a snide remark that he asks the same questions everyday. They tell him NO loudly (as if he's deaf) when he extends his hand for a shake. And they sigh heavily when he sits down next to them. 

What is wrong with you people? It's 15 minutes of your time to answer an occasional question, or just shake his hand. Does it kill you to be friendly to someone you don't particularly know? (Tracy is friendly to everyone!) Are you that uncomfortable with mentally handicapped people that you can't even smile and say hi?! 

Are there days when I am less patient because I have had a long day at work? Sure, but I remind myself that it's only 15 minutes, and he smiles the whole way!

He's only re-enacting conversations I'm sure many of them have on a daily basis with their other commuter friends, his style of communication is just a bit different.

I am becoming the villain on my bus because when I see Tracy being treated harshly by these people I SAY something to this effect. My questions are a little more harsh to these people than Tracy's...
 "What is wrong with you people?"
"You sit and preach about Jesus to anyone who will listen, so why is it when you are given the face of Christ in Tracy, you won't even make eye contact with him? What would Jesus do?"
I just simply call them out on their nonsense.
 " Hey! No reason to be rude, just tell him you don't want to shake hands today nicely! He understands. Probably more than you think! "

Hi Tracy... sorry I don't have gum today... I don't know where Jim is, maybe he had to work late...I'm having Chicken and garlic for dinner...Yes, it is rather wet out...  I would love for you to use my phone to take selfies... Yes, your Yellow Raincoat does the trick.

I will continue to devote my 15 minutes a day with Tracy. He doe more for me in this 15 minutes with his smiles, his want to take selfies and his infatuation with knowing what other people are eating for dinner than I do for him!

I smile knowing that he is going home to watch Dragnet (his favorite) and eat dinner with his family who lovingly meets him at the bus stop each day to walk him home.

I pray for compassion... for all. It's only 15 minutes of your day.

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