Stepping onto the Las Vegas bound Greyhound bus in San Bernardino the first thing I noticed was; this bus is new. And really nice, cool. In the front row just above the stairwell sat an elderly gentleman, a little scruffy looking but he had a friendly smile. Encased within his eyes was the excitement of someone at least 30 years younger. His suit was all blue, but just really didn't match. It looked as if he could have picked it all out from a second hand store. But it was a suit and he wore it well. After thinking it over the suit may have very well been from his own closet at home, however at his age there was a real good chance that his wife was no longer with him, and maybe it was her all of them years that had told him which pieces matched the other ones. He smiled and we exchanged hello's as I walked past and towards a seat near the back of the bus.
The sun set over L.A. as we entered the foothills and the bus found its way onto the Barstow Highway. At one of several stops someone near my end of the bus bought a couple pizzas and shared it with everyone within reach. I noticed a comfortable camaraderie between the travelers here, a lot more than I would have expected. It was nice to see.
I got off the bus during a 30 minute stop in Barstow and there was the old guy still in the front row, still smiling. The empty seat next to him suggested that he was traveling alone. Although we were stopped his hands, rough and aged with a lifetime of work had a tight grip on the rail that was separating his seat from the stairwell. By the time I got back on board a young girl who had been in her mothers lap was now sitting in the front row with the old guy. Perfect.
Back on the freeway it was pitch black out now, starring out the window was almost futile except for the marker lights and outlines of the 18 wheelers headed west in the opposite lanes. I reminisced about a lot of things. My friend Gigi Love's beautiful voice singing to me through the earbuds turning my thoughts too a deeper look at life itself. Dreams & goals, all the different paths we take through life. So many different things shape our individual journeys. Way too many times I have seen people work most of their lives towards a certain age or place they hope to arrive at, only to be cut short by some unforeseen circumstance or event. On the next short stop the driver came back and asked if there was possibly any of that pizza left? As he accepted the box containing the last slice he said; "its not for me, I want to give it to the birthday boy in the front row, Bob. He is 85 today, he's lived in L.A. all his life and tonight he is headed to Vegas."
A 'thats awesome' arose in unison from everyone within the sound of his voice.
"Yea, I think he was afraid of missing the bus if he got off to get something to eat at Barstow."
I spent the next couple hours starring back out into the blackness and feeling just a little better about the human race, at least the few that were around me at that present moment in time. In Vegas I was one of the last passengers off the bus, I walked past the crowd waiting for luggage and into the bus station lobby. I was watching for Bob but seen no sign of him. I stepped out of the building onto the sidewalk of North Las Vegas Blvd where there were several people milling around but no old guy in a mismatched blue suit. Perhaps he already caught a cab…
Wherever you are Bob, Happy Birthday and I hope tonight is the time of your life man.