Every morning, he greets me with the biggest smile. “Hello, Julien!” he always says. He’s from El Salvador and is honestly the kindest person I may have ever met. Meet my bus driver.
Our friendship started when I was physically running to the bus one day. Late, per usual, I climbed the bus stairs huffing and puffing. He smiled at me and said words I’ll never forget. “Julien, you don’t have to run. I will always wait for you.” It sounds so simple, but meant so much to me.
Another time, when I forgot my wallet, and was about to walk off the bus in severe embarrassment, he paid my fare.
And yesterday morning, as I walked to the bus (on time for once), he met me halfway to the bus. He told me that a lot of drivers were being assigned new routes, and he wasn’t sure if he’d continue being my driver, but that he was so grateful for our friendship. I just about cried.
Then today he wasn’t there. There was no one to wave to me as I hurriedly rushed to the bus. No one to enthusiastically greet me with, Good morning, Julien.” No one to wave me off to work after a long ride into DC with, “Have a great day, Julien. See you tomorrow!”
I’ll be honest - he was the best part of my mornings. And as I sit on the bus, I’m doing my best to keep it together. It’s not going well. I have to keep moving my hair in front of my face to hide the actual tears. Not like WRITTEN TEARS but actual alligator tears. Cue the aviators.
Connecting with people in DC isn’t always easy, so it’s such a beautiful thing when you find people that are just KIND, genuine and make a positive impact on people’s lives. Carl Maynard, my friend who shot these photos, is one of those people too. He’s the nicest guy with such an incredible talent for not only taking breathtaking photos but bringing people together. He organizes something called Walk with Locals (@walkwithlocals on Insta) where people get together, shoot, hang out and get to know each other. I love that.