The Knight Bus
I have a confession to make: I am a feminist.
I know, I know . . . you’d never guess (ya right . . .). I’d say what makes me a feminist is a stalwart belief that I can do anything a dude can do (or another woman, alien, robot from Mars, etc). And even if I fail, I went down swinging, guns blazing . . . you get the gist.
I don’t need flowers, candle-lit dinners, or jewelry. I like to educate myself, never settle for just one line of thought, weigh my options without guilt, and jump in the ocean when the guide tries to spook me, declaring, “Those are Mexican piranhas!” Just for the record I did jump, and the fish DID have huge teeth, and nope – no one else, man or woman, joined me. It’s probably a miracle I’m alive.
As a feminist, I also don’t expect for a man to step aside and let me go first (though I will admit they often hold doors open for me, whereas women let the same doors slam in my face). I do appreciate the kindness, don’t get me wrong! I just don’t think because I sport a bra and ovaries, that they HAVE TO open the door for me.
So, when I first added a stop to the school bus I drive for two middle school students (a boy and a girl), I wasn’t really paying attention when the girl got on the bus first. You see, they are the only two kids at this one particular stop and they are neighbors, separated by five houses. It was a 50/50 shot who got on the bus first . . . or so I thought.
It took me a week to notice the pattern – the girl always got on first, even if the boy was at the stop first. In addition, she always got off first, even if the boy was seated ahead of her. He would stand and wait for her to pass him, then he would follow.
It could be five-degrees out or pouring rain, and this young boy would stand aside to let his female neighbor always, ALWAYS go first.
Then one afternoon, on the way home, he didn’t realize she was on the bus. She was seated five seats behind him, chatting with her friends. He was in his own seat, enjoying his friends, when their stop arrived. He got up, gathered his things, and stepped into the aisle. At some point he saw her, behind him, and he STEPPED BACK into someone else’s seat, apologized, and gave her a nod as she walked PAST him.
Understand, this young girl isn’t some queen bee. In fact, I don’t think she expects the act of chivalry at all. But this boy does it, every time, without fail. EVERY TIME.
After they get off the bus, she goes to one side of the road and he goes to the other where his house is. As I drive away, he stands and waits for the bus to move to reveal the girl again. I watch in my rearview mirror as they wave to one another and smile. Then they go their separate ways.
One bitter-cold day, as I left them on their opposite sides of the street, the girl realized the sidewalk was 10″ deep with snow, and she had a distance to walk. The boy, however, was standing in his plowed driveway. When he saw her looking down at the snow, he walked back across the street and said something to her. As I rounded the corner, leaving them out of my sight, I saw them walking together, in the near zero temperature, to her house. He was escorting her home as they walked in the street, even though his own house, so warm and toasty, was just feet away.
And that is what I, a feminist, calls a true knight in shinning armor. No sword, no testosterone-ridden, “I can do it, ye’ shall step aside!” crap.
A true knight is quiet, steadfast, respectful.
Because of one young boy, I can now dub my bus The Knight Bus.
Like you, I’m a feminist and a mother–and what I find wonderful to think about in this is whether this boy is following a model of treating women with kindness and courtesy? Has he been told something good about women–i.e., to respect them? Or (I hope not!) that that they can’t take care of themselves? I noted that Pres. Obama and VP Biden, when very recently talking about necessary efforts to reduce sexual violence against women on college campuses, spoke of the importance of men “stepping up,” and taking responsibility to prevent it by other men. Amen. I hope that this boy is being educated in that spirit, and I agree with you that what you’re seeing on “the Knight Bus” is a rare and lovely spirit. It’s a terrific post. Thanks!
You are most welcome Lynne! They are still on my bus to this day and she (and now his sister) always go first :)