Here is an adorable story I would like to share that originates from a shiur a rabbi gave before Rosh Hashanah.
The story begins with a crowd of people waiting at the bus terminal in Jerusalem after Rosh Hashanah to catch the 402 bus to Bnei Brak after enjoying a beautiful yom tov. By 9 p.m. the line is quite long, but spirits are high after the chag, as people line up with their children and suitcases in tow. A few start looking at their watches, wondering when the bus is finally going to show up to take them home.
As time marches on to 10 p.m. and then 11 p.m., the bus has still not appeared; the lines are getting longer and the people rowdier and more irritated. Children and babies are already tired and acting out and crying, and the parents do not know what to do to calm them down with the bus nowhere in sight.
Finally, at 1 a.m. an empty bus appears with the number 318 on it. A few chassidim enter the bus and ask the driver where the bus is headed. The bus driver answers that his destination is Rechovot. The chassidim look around and see that the bus stays empty and no one is getting on, so they ask him if he could change the bus to the 402 line to Bnei Brak since there does not seem to be anyone going to Rechovot. With so many families waiting, they reasoned, it is more important to go to Bnei Brak than Rechovot.
The driver shakes his head at the chassidim and says, “Do you know how much trouble I will be in if I change my route from the 318 to Rechovot to the 402 to Bnei Brak? Egged will have my head on a platter when they find out what I did!”
They continue to argue back and forth for a while, until finally the bus driver says, “OK, I will do it!” And he gets up and changes the sign on the bus from 318 to Rechovot to the 402 to Bnei Brak.
People start cheering and board the bus, relieved to be on their way home. Everyone takes a seat, and the chassidim who talked the bus driver into changing his route take a microphone and announce to all the people that they should say: “Thank you to this bus driver, the tzaddik who had pity on us and changed his route so as to be able to get everyone home to Bnei Brak!”
Everyone starts clapping and cheering and saying, “What a guy!” and singing the bus driver’s praises all the way to Bnei Brak.
When the bus finally arrives in Bnei Brak, people are so grateful to be home that they bless the bus driver over and over again as they exit the bus, thanking him once again for taking pity on them and bringing them in his bus to Bnei Brak!
Everyone gets off the bus except for an old man who tarries a little longer, waiting to speak to the driver before he gets off the bus. The old man says to the bus driver, “How is it that you agreed in the end to bring everyone here to Bnei Brak? Aren’t you afraid you will get in trouble from your employers for not going to Rechovot?”
The bus driver looks from side to side and then directly at the old man and says, “You see, it’s like this. My boss called up many drivers telling them that they were needed to come in to work and drive the crowds of people home that were lining up at the bus station. Most of us thought we would have the evening off as a continuation of the chag until tomorrow.
“When I arrived with the bus at the bus station and saw the angry mob of people waiting for the number 402 bus to Bnei Brak, there was no way I was going to tell them that I was the driver of the 402 to Bnei Brak—they had been waiting so long, they would have killed me! But when I told them that I was the number 318 to Rechovot and I let them talk me into changing my route, suddenly they loved me and everyone on the bus wanted to be my friend and sing my praises. Hearing them thank me for taking them to Bnei Brak was much better than having them call me names for coming so late!”
Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, www.AVCrealty.com. Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to anessa@AVCrealty.com.