Wednesday, July 14, 2004

des's story:My Chauffeur

At about 6.55 am sharp every morning, he would appear, rain or shine, without fail, to bring me to work. His posture, a picture of composure and pride in the extravagant vehicle shows his total control over the vehicle. With his uniform pressed straight and his hair neatly combed back, he wore a mark of professionalism. Our relation started about a year ago as far as I could remember.

To be honest, I hardly notice him at first. To me, he was just another face in the crowd. Like most of us, I thought he just does what he is paid to do. There was no obligation for either party to talk. Although until this day with little words being exchanged, it has never been the same as before. Things change after he failed to turn up, not just once or twice, but for more than a week. For the first few times, I did not even notice his absence.

Then, one morning, as I passed the driver's seat, I noticed a face somewhat familiar but I just could not put a finger on where I have seen it before. It took me a moment or two to recognise him. I don't remember whether it was because I was glad to see him or out of satisfaction in finally recognising the face, that I gave him a wide smile. I guess I was just trying to ask him: "where have you been, man?" He responded with a positive smile and this small exchange was repeated on the next morning and the next. This went on for several days, and then the smile came with a nod of recognition which was later replaced with a morning greeting. Over time, I can sense that he was looking forward to the greeting, as he turned his head eagerly to face me. Some mornings, when he saw that I was a bit late, he would patiently wait for me and told me that I need not have to hurry. I was enjoying these treatment, in fact I felt "special". To me, he is my chauffeur, but in fact, he is the driver of the bus number 61, that stops at the bus stop near my home every morning.

What have I learnt:
Previously, I guess I don't see my chauffeur as a fellow human being. Most probably, I see him more as a "machine" operating the bus. I guess that happens when we take people for granted. With time, I began to see that he would have preferred more human interactions on the job. I know I would if I am the driver. And with a bus load of passengers, it could get quite stressful as I have witnessed another driver practically in tears when the bus nearly met with an accident.

It is actually quite amazing what a little bit of respect can do. I think that we should treat every person that we come into contact with the respect they deserve. Moreover, others will only give us respect when we respect them. And it actually does not take much effort.

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