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The Slice

The cost of a small kindness

So I was sitting in the still parked outbound STA No. 43.

The bus was on Sprague, pointed west. It was almost 2:20, the time it was due to pull out.

A sixtysomething ponytailed guy in the seat in front of me smelled like all the cigarette butts in the universe.

I was sitting on the sidewalk side of the bus. I heard a voice and looked out my window.

Two vaguely well-off looking women were walking west and one had lost her grip on a two-wheel cart she was pulling. I watched her pick it up. They started walking again.

A couple of black winter gloves fell onto the sidewalk from the cart. The woman didn't notice.

But just as I realized she couldn't hear my knocking on the bus window, the women stopped and the other one went into this convenience store there. Shop Around the Corner, I think it's called. The cart woman stayed outside.

“Driver, could you open the doors and tell that woman next to the bus that she dropped her gloves,” I yelled, right in the ear of the ponytail guy.

The driver did as I asked and was saying something when I saw some hood-wearing guy on the sidewalk pick up the gloves. Before I could fret about it, he headed toward the open bus door. The gloves were in his outstretched hand. He was going to give them to the driver. 

“It's the woman in the red coat,” I yelled to the driver.

The driver relayed this to the hooded guy and he pivoted and walked a few steps to hand the gloves to her.

“Sorry about yelling in your ear,” I told the ponytailed guy.

He turned and said something nice. I stopped being bothered by his ash tray aroma.

Just as the bus started to pull into traffic, I looked back to the sidewalk.

The guy in the hood was still standing next to the woman in the red coat. She had her purse out. She did not look perturbed. But neither was her expression one you would see in ads for downtown shopping/dining euphoria.

I can't say for sure. But I'm guessing the guy in the hood had told her he sure could use some spare change.


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About this blog

Features writer Paul Turner is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review in the Features department. He writes "The Slice" column, which appears six times a week and produces general features stories for the Today section.

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