Picture 4


At 3rd and Virginia, on my 358: a large African-American man in his fifties gets on. I ask him how he’s doing. He’s doing fine, and he sits down somewhere behind me. A moment later he comes back up.

“Hey, what’s your bus number?”
“Wha-?” I don’t know what the coach number is myself. I glance up at the front wall, saying, “it’s 2618…”
“Oh no, no!”
“Oh! It’s a 358!”
“Tight. Thank you!”
“I was worried for a second there. Thought I was doin’ something wrong!” I had thought he wanted my number so he could file a complaint!
“Oh no man, you cool!”  We’re both laughing now.
“I was like, I thought I was doing everything right…”
“It ain’ like that! You doin’ a great job.”

After a moment I ask about his holiday, because what reason is there not to. Together we find new things to say about the weather, the holiday traffic, making it to the end of the week….  Sometimes I wonder if people find it off-putting when I strike up conversation, but I’m surprised at how often—and how willing—people are to open up. You just have to ask.

I wanted to offer a Scott Adams quote which a regular reader was nice enough to share with me:

Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.

“It’s gonna be a good year,” he says, surfing the wave of our interaction, before disappearing into the melee known as Third and Pike, center of the universe.

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Nathan Vass is an artist, filmmaker, photographer, and author by day, and a Metro bus driver by night, where his community-building work has been showcased on TED, NPR, The Seattle Times, KING 5 and landed him a spot on Seattle Magazine’s 2018 list of the 35 Most Influential People in Seattle. He has shown in over forty photography shows is also the director of nine films, six of which have shown at festivals, and one of which premiered at Henry Art Gallery. His book, The Lines That Make Us, is a Seattle bestseller and 2019 WA State Book Awards finalist.