That the bus was a half hour late was both surprising and concerning. Surprising because they are almost never late in picking me up in the morning, concerning because this was the one morning in the last month that I simply couldn't be late. I had a conference call scheduled. I'd left myself a bit of leeway, never planning to be at work exactly on time, but not enough to accommodate both the time lost and the significant increase in traffic that would come with the delay. When the driver arrived I asked him about what time he thought I would get to work, I explained to him that I had an important meeting. He said he'd do the best he could do but that he had another person to pick up and drop off before he could take me to work. I was frantic with anxiety, I don't like being late.
Once on the bus I heard him radio in and ask if they could move his next pick up to another driver so he could get me directly to work. Then the dispatcher and a few others chatted and the ride was reassigned. He could take me directly to the office. On the way there he told me that he'd been driving for WheelTrans for a very long time and from there we got into a chat about accessibility, people's attitudes and prejudices about disability. This guy was awake to the concept of disability prejudice and had a real understanding of the disability community. He spoke with the ease of someone who'd graduated at the top of the class in a disability studies programme. It was awesome.
He got me to work early.
I had time to prepare for the call.
What struck me about all this was the immediate kindness of the 'organization' behind the service and their willingness to adapt to meet one person's need. What impressed me even more was that a 'long timer' in direct service provision had had his heart and mind opened by his experiences. He had the ability to be flexible and the desire to provide the best possible service - he had the babit of kindness. So often, those of us who've been around a long time, can lose the 'will' to 'flexibility' and the 'desire' to 'serve.' I am guilty of that myself sometimes when I'm asked for the millionth time to be understanding ... and I forget that I took this job because I thought I had that to offer ... yikes.
I was provided excellent service by an individual and the organization behind him.
I want that said of me.
I want that said of the agency I work for.
I hope it sometimes is.