Catching the bus yesterday, I was tired, my dreams were wearing thin. Got off and went to buy deodorant at the shops. No wallet! Where’s my wallet?! The stink of panic sets in. I had used it to get on the bus, right? It must still be on the bus, heading to Woden. Straight home, on the phone and through to lost property. No answer – drat. Tried it again – success! Helpfully, they said they would contact the interchange and call me back when the bus pulled in. Minutes of anxious waiting, wishing I hadn’t just gone to the bank and withdrawn my life’s savings. Phone rings, the bus driver has found it, he’s taking it to Belconnen, where I could pick it up tomorrow. Is my money still in it? He says he doesn’t know. At least I can get my licence cards back, right?
Early this morning, with what might be my last $3 in the world, I get the bus to the city (a transfer, please) and on the 300 series. At 7:45, we’re near Belconnen interchange, Wayne from lost property calls. He’s got my wallet. Is my money still in it? We pull in. There’s Wayne, there’s my wallet, the cash crisply inside. It looks like even more than I withdrew yesterday. What kind of a city is it when you can get your wallet back, with all the cash intact? I could kiss him, but the plexiglass barrier keeps us apart. I made sure he knew that he had made my day.
The real hero of the story is the bus driver who not only found my wallet, but made the honest decision to hand it in intact. He seemed pretty dour when I got on the bus, but it goes to show you never can tell (maybe he was tired too?). I decided when I came back to Canberra last year not to get a car. It’s been challenging, but rewarding too. The service is almost always good, almost always on time. Sometimes it starts to grate – putting up with the hard cases who need the bus even more than I do. But the good parts more than make up for it - to do your bit by not having a car, to not have the hassle and expense of driving and parking, and to all the pretty girls who catch the bus.
I’m leaving Canberra again, so to all those great bus drivers out there, thanks for the ride!