Thursday, 29 July 2010

The 271 Bus Stop

I was running late. I glanced at my watch again.
11:45am and not a bus in sight. I had a little over 45 minutes to get to Old Street where I had an interview with a leading private Telecoms Company.
"Where's this bus?" I muttered to myself.

An old woman coughed furiously as she walked past pulling her shopping trolley bag behind her. I looked at her sympathetically. Her frail pink skin was edged with lines of anxiety and weariness. She was muttering quietly to herself when she stepped on the edge of the pavement and almost lost her balance. I rushed over to her side and helped to steady her so that she wouldn't fall.
"Thank you my dear," she said softly as she regained her composure.
"You're welcome. Are you alright?"
"Yes, it's so hard at my age to walk around dear. I don't usually do it but my son's been trying to encourage me to do it often, you know to get exercise and all that. He reckons it's good for the joints and all; but I'm scared of something happening to me. What if I fell and broke my hip? What if some of those crazy kids attacked me and stole my handbag? I wish my son Trevor was around. I'm sorry dear to be troubling you with all my problems, its just that I don't feel safe."
"Where do you live?"
"Near the end of this road, by the roundabout."
That was about ten minutes away. I felt sorry for her but there was little I could do, I was already running late for my interview and if I escorted her home, it would just make everything worse for me. But I heard a voice saying "Escort her home." I knew that voice, I had learnt to recognise it over the years. "But Lord, I'll be late for my interview..."
The voice spoke gently again.

I didn't really want to escort her because it would make me late, but I had learnt a long time ago that I should always do as I felt prompted in my heart. So hand in hand the old lady and I walked down the road towards her home.
"My name is Mike," I said as we walked, "What's your name ma'am?"
"Mrs Myles or you can call me Sue."
"Mrs Myles it is."
We got to her house and she fumbled in her bag for the keys. Two minutes later I was helping her into her house.
She smiled back at me and said, "Thank you for your kindness. It's not everyday that people go out of their way for others. Are you on your way to work?" she asked as she gazed at my expensive suit which I had bought specifically for the interview.
"Actually I'm on my way to an interview, which starts in about an hour's time," I replied as I got ready to leave.
"You, young men of today work so hard. Even my Trevor is always busy slaving away in his city office. Anyway I wish you all the best in your interview."
"Thank you," I said as I rushed out of her house back to the 271 Bus stop.

An hour and a half later I marched into the offices of London Independent Telecoms. A young receptionist ushered me to a seat and as I sat there with my hands trembling, sweaty palms and my heart doing a marathon, I looked around at the contemporary office with huge plants that reminded me of the Amazon. Young slender women walked in and out of the reception on some all important task.
"Did you get the memo I sent?" one asked.
"Yes, I will start actioning it this afternoon."
I wondered whether the Managing Director who I was scheduled to meet would still want to interview me seeing as I was quite late.
Surprisingly he still agreed to meet me.

I was led into his impressive glass paneled office and he asked me to take a seat.
"I'm so sorry that I'm late sir but I had a bit of an emergency to deal with," I said wanting to make amends.
"Don't worry about it for now, these things happen," he said looking at me intently.
Then to my surprise the interview turned out to be a one to one interview. The rest of the interview panel was not able to make it for one reason or another.
He glanced at my CV again and remarked, "Your qualifications are very good but I'm sure you understand that we get thousands of applicants who are equally as good?"
I nodded not sure what to say.
"Now I'm sure you know already from the Interview Pack we sent you that the biggest characteristic we're after for this job is someone who can show that they have the uttermost commitment and loyalty to the firm. We need a person who can be selfless and deny them self for the good of the firm."
Again I nodded. This wasn't going too great. I felt like a silly child with all my nodding at different intervals.
"Do you think that you can demonstrate such loyalty, commitment and dedication to the point of denying yourself? You know we may ask you to put in extra long hours - evenings and weekends, a lot of travelling will be involved as well. It will be tough, can you give up some of your own personal interests to see the company achieve its goals?"

"Wait a minute, you escorted a lady home today on your way here? Tell me what happened..."
"I was waiting for the 271 bus to get here and this elderly lady almost fell..."
"Mike what was the name of the lady?"
"Mrs Myles," I said wondering why he was so interested.
"I don't believe this," he said scratching his head, "That woman that you helped out today was my mum. Just before you arrived she rang me and told me that a nice young man had taken the trouble to walk her home, Mike she said his name was. And now it turns out, you happen to be that nice young man. Thank you for helping my mum. She gets so distressed sometimes and it makes a whole of difference when people like you pause their lives to help people like her."
I was speechless.
"Well I think it goes without saying that you are a self less and kind person and we would be honoured to have you join our team here."
"I've got the job?" I asked unable to believe what was happening.
"Yes, congratulations." 
"Thank you," I said and half an hour later as I walked out of his office; I couldn't help but marvel at the way the Lord worked in mysterious ways. Sometimes I never understood what he was doing in my life but I resolved from then on to try harder to listen to His voice and do His will.

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