Yesterday evening was beautiful. I walked out of my office and down 14th Street, admiring soft sunlight bathing the Tribune building and enjoying the warm breeze. As I approached Broadway, a woman pointed towards Franklin and asked me if that was the way to 12th Street. I reoriented her and helped her find her destination, and she thanked me.
I turned the corner to walk to the 1/1R stop and immediately noticed a man at the 72 bus shelter shouting. Though I tried, I could not make out any of his words and had no idea what he was shouting about. I waited for the bus and mostly tuned out his shouting, letting my mind instead focus on the traffic moving by, which was a mix of cars, buses, pedestrians, and bicyclists – exactly as it should be.
The 1 pulled up, and since I didn’t want to get on, I stepped back. As the bus was about to pull away, a man came sprinting down the sidewalk shouting and pleading for the bus driver to wait. Already in motion, the bus driver stopped the bus and opened the doors. The man seemed very grateful.
A couple minutes later, the 1R pulled up, and I walked towards it. An elderly lady with a cart was slowly making her way off the bus. The man who had been incoherently shouting just a few moments earlier asked her quietly if she needed help. She accepted with a smile, and he picked her cart up and put it on the sidewalk for her.
With all the negative news we hear about Oakland every day and with all the complaining from residents and merchants, it’s sometimes easy to forget that there are a lot of kind people in Oakland, willing to lend a hand. Even if it’s something as simple as giving directions, stopping the bus, or helping someone off the bus, those small acts of kindness to strangers are part of what makes Oakland such a wonderful city.