HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - All this month, we’re Paying it Forward by doing random acts of kindness. We helped some people pay their utilities bills. We've bought groceries for folks at the checkout counter. And now, we’re getting on the bus, literally, to surprise some people.
Twelve Huntsville shuttle buses run nine different routes Monday through Friday. That’s 10,000 miles a week. For many of the 3,000 people who ride daily, it’s their only means of transportation. “That’s correct,” says Randy Griffith, shuttle fixed route coordinator. “This is a lot of people, this is all they have.”
Suset Ramon is one of those riders. This mother and her children use the bus to get around the city. Suset doesn't speak a lot of English, so when I gave her 19 ride tickets as a random act of kindness, her daughter acted as an interpreter. “Oh, thank you, thank you,” she said. Sometimes, you can say a lot with just a smile.
Some who use the shuttle bus are our neighbors who are in wheelchairs. Brenda Sherrer was on her way home after visiting her son in the hospital. When I handed her a book of 19 ride tickets, she thanked me and said it will help her out a little bit. Everywhere we turned, people appreciated our random act of kindness. A one way fare is $1. But students, seniors, those on Medicare or Medicaid and our disabled neighbors ride for $.50. Nicholas Tate is in a wheelchair and rides the bus to and from work every day. When I gave him 19 ride tickets, he smiled and said, “That will help me out a lot Jerry. I thank you man."
We ran into some of the nicest people in the short time we were on the bus and at the terminal. Danny Chance is one of them. He’s a veteran who is now disabled. He told me he rides the bus at least twice a day, Monday through Friday. “I'm not able to drive because of my back and my vision,” he said. Danny served in the Navy from 1977 to 1983. He was stationed at the Naval Air Station at Pensacola, where he provided squadron support and got to work with the Blue Angels. “I worked at the aviation intermediate maintenance department. I was an aviation electronics technician,” he told me. It made my day to be able to do a random act of kindness for one of our veterans. “Wow, I appreciate that. I recognized you from TV,” Danny said, “Excellent. I thank you. Thank you very much sir.” I thanked him for his service to our country. “You're welcome,” he said.
Another great thing about doing a random act of kindness for a stranger - you meet people you might not meet otherwise. Dandre Langford said, “I ride the bus because I don't have a car you know, just to keep it real. But I actually ride the bus because I like the thinking time it gives me.” He says it also gives him time to read, listen to music and plan his day. When I told him I was giving him 19 ride tickets, he smiled and said, “Dude, I'll take that any day man. I appreciate that a lot.” But he didn’t stop there. Dandre continued, “And maybe I can help somebody out with this one too. You know, it's not just about me. Maybe I can pay it forward to somebody else too.” There’s no doubt in my mind Dandre is the kind of guy who will share his blessing with others.