My San Francisco Chronicles Slice of Life

Reaching Out on Muni.

It was a crowded 5-Fulton outbound on a Tuesday commute. Somewhere near the Civic Center, a blind man and his girlfriend (also partially blind) got on the bus and were given seats near the front but not next to one another. Closer to City Hall, a boy around the ages of 7-9 got on the bus with his mother and stood near the front of the bus.

The boy had noticed the blind man’s walking cane and began to talk with him.

Boy: “Sir, what’s that stick for?”
Blind man: “Oh, it’s to help me find my way around because I cannot see.”
Boy: “You can’t see? What do you mean? Can you see me?”
Blind man: “Unfortunately, no, I cannot see you, at least not in this dim light [on the bus].”
Boy: “I wish you could see me. I would give you my eyes so you can see.”
Blind man: “You are so very sweet, thank you.”

The boy’s mother, meanwhile, seemed uncomfortable with her son being overly inquisitive with a stranger. She continued to hush and scold him for asking too many questions throughout the conversation.

Boy: “Do you cook?”
Blind man: “Oh, no way, I don’t. But my girlfriend cooks for me.”

The blind man motions to his girlfriend in the general direction of her voice.

Boy: “Oh, you are his girlfriend?”
Girlfriend: “Yes, I am.”
Boy: “Can you see me?”
Girlfriend: “I also cannot see, but I can see better than my boyfriend.”
Boy: “Why can you both not see? I wish I could give both of you my eyes so you can see me and everyone else here.”
Girlfriend: “That’s so very kind of you, thank you.”

The boy and his mother had to get off the bus around Fillmore. Before he got off the bus, he bid his farewell to the couple.

Boy: “It was nice meeting you, Sir.” He takes the blind man’s hand into his own and shakes it.
Blind man: “It was very nice meeting you, too. Thank you.”
Boy: “It was nice meeting you, Miss.” He hugs the girlfriend.
Girlfriend: “You are so sweet, thank you. You take care of yourself and your mother now.”

The boy and his mother exited, and enough seats freed up between the couple so they could find one another again by the sound of each other’s voices.

The whole scene was enough to make my week and remind me of how, despite our differences, we humans will always care for one another in some ways without even being properly acquainted. The little boy, despite not even knowing the blind man and his girlfriend, was so sincere and willing to give up his own eyes for them so they could see. It’s a rare sight (no pun intended) to see something like this on public transportation these days, where the rest of us tend to keep to ourselves and fall into our own worlds while on the bus.