On Jul 30, I was on my usual commute home from my office in the Central Business District, when I missed my bus stop and ended up all the way at Kranji Bus Depot. It was about 7.30pm at the time.

I alighted from the bus and was already thinking I would get a Grab ride home, but the bus uncle told me to wait for him outside the depot and he’d drop me at Kranji MRT. I thought he was switching to drive another bus route but actually, he’d just ended his shift and was going home. His car was parked at the depot and he was going to collect it.

I waited outside and tried to book a Grab, as I didn’t want to trouble him. But 10 minutes later, I still had no luck. By then, the uncle had driven out and as it turned out, he wasn’t saying that he’d drop me at Kranji MRT the first time (I’d misheard him). Instead, he had offered to send me all the way home.

As he drove, the uncle and I chatted, and I learnt that he has a daughter around my age (in her early 20s). He said that he offered to drive me because he didn’t want to leave me alone in a quiet industrial area and, since he doesn’t live that out of the way from me, he doesn’t see it as a huge bother.

For context, the bus uncle and I are actually familiar with each other. He drives SMRT’s bus number 982E, a special express bus that only operates at two timings in the mornings, and two in the evenings. I’ve been taking this bus on my regular work commute for the last few months, so we normally see each other a few times a week. And we’ve gotten friendly enough to exchange greetings even before this incident.

In fact, I’d actually left the bus uncle a compliment with SMRT before on a separate occasion. That time, the bus had broken down in the middle of our journey and he was very professional in handling the situation – he remained calm and patient, and told us not to panic (it was the morning rush-hour and we were all trying to get to work).

And because he couldn’t manage to get a second bus to come in time, he gave us all a bus receipt and told us that we could show it to the driver next time to get a free ride. The next day, I forgot to bring my receipt, but the bus uncle said he remembered me and allowed me to hop on without having to tap my EZ-link card.

I was very touched by his latest gesture – he could have left me in the middle of Kranji since it’s my fault that I missed my stop, but he was so nice.

Deanne Galicia

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