Give Credit Where Credit is Due

With all the feel-good stories flying around at this time of year, the uglier news items may seem particularly disturbing in comparison. And besides, most of us with a memory for the sensational will probably always cringe whenever the words “Greyhound” and “unruly passenger” appear together. Which is why a recent headline about an almost bus disaster caused by an out-of-control rider seems, on the face of it, to be a harrowing story.

Apparently a distraught passenger tried to force the driver to make an unscheduled stop by seizing the steering wheel in the middle of the Trans-Canada Highway. Fortunately, the driver managed to keep control of the vehicle. It could have had horrific results.

But there is in fact a beautiful act of kindness embedded in this story. We learn that after the level-headed driver fended off the frantic passenger and managed to keep everyone on the crowded bus safe, and after two other passengers grabbed the man and restrained him until the cops arrived, and after a weekend in which I’m guessing that most everyone involved gave extra-tight hugs to their loved ones… yet another of the passengers stepped up.

Stephen Jarmus has been riding Greyhound buses for almost 50 years. He told reporters he’d never seen anything like this happen before. He knew the driver had done an incredible thing by keeping his cool in a moment of danger, and that his actions had kept a busload of people from getting hurt or killed.

So, Jarmus stopped in at Greyhound’s Winnipeg office to personally heap praises on the driver.

“I felt it was my duty to express gratitude to the fellow,” he’s quoted as saying. Jarmus’s good deed cost him little, but likely meant a great deal to the driver and his supervisors.

So the question of the day is this: How often do any of us take the time to report laudable work? Often we’re quick to make complaints, and slower to issue kudos. Who’s guilty? You bet my own hand’s waving in the air here.

One person who has taken this message to heart is Rocksifter. That’s the ambiguous screen name used by a reader who posted an online comment after this news story. He (or she, because women sift rocks too) says: “Your example encourages me to remember to also speak up when I see people doing good things.” Thanks, Rocksifter, for driving the point home.

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