Friends tonight was different that all other nights: I risked humiliation. Without a cent in my pocket, waiting for the 34 bus on Emek Rafaiim, the gun was pointed at my head. Only figuratively speaking.
Would the driver let me on as his was the first bus out of the depot post Shabat? I wanted to hop it and get home to greet my husband with descriptions of my very friendly Seudat Shlishit at the Emek Rafaim Learning Center. There 40 or more soldiers were hosted by Rebetzin Lynne Meyers and her family. Rav Meyers and she had their hands full keeping the bowls filled. She greeted me very warmly knowing I was not a local.
The bus drivers at the Kotel granted passengers entrance free to the first bus out the gate. On a pleasant Shabat afternoon my wanderings reach a few kilometers. Why not when I can rely on that First Bus Ride opportunity.
The wait was long and as the minutes passed so did my sense of entitlement. Surely the driver would extend me the courtesy.
I started to feel a little doubtful about my plan when I saw the others waiting with me at the Tachanah pull out their Rav Cards as the bus approached. I hopped on and asked in my broken Hebrew, “Is the first bus out of the station free”. He yelled, “No, get off”. So many people were starring at me. I wanted to sink into a pit. Then the lady that I was chatting with at the station said, “I’ll pay” and I piped in “Pensionnaire”.
She did such a beautiful deed. I whispered: “May I pay you back?” “She said, “No, just do the same for someone else.” We got off the bus at the same stop. She was headed for the Mazza Theater and I was headed home.