Buzz Lightyear Kite

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So I have this kite. Probably cost $2. But it means a lot to me.

It was given to me by my bus driver. I say ‘my’ driver because back in 2000-2003 or so I was a “Bus Captain” in charge of a route picking up inner-city youth to attend the Waj’n War Youth Group. Some of the best memories of my life was during that time.

My Drivers

We leased the buses from a local company, the drivers came with it. Hopefully you would get the same driver week after week because they knew the drill. They knew that the route would change weekly depending on who was coming. Even so most of my regular drivers were silent, seething, easily angered, impatient and would even lash out at the kids at times. I would try to make friends with each of them. Being grateful, buying a gift here and there… anything to help them see the vision of what we were doing and help them believe in it. I even went to a couple of hockey games with one of them.

Eventually I got a driver who was kind, patient, easy to get along with. She drove a little fast but hey. I don’t recall her name… but somehow she figured out that I liked Buzz Lightyear and she bought me this kite. She did for me what I’d been doing for the drivers. She met me more than halfway. She was a good lady.

She pulled me aside one time to tell me, “I pray for you and what you do. These kids need this. They need you.” Single tear.

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It’s Just A Kite

Though I make apologies for most of my cheap Buzz items… this one I show off proudly because it reminds me of all that we all went through on that bus trying to help these hardened, jaded ┬ákids realize that someone loved them without without wanting anything from them. It reminds me of how important my driver was. How her attitude and her heart made that route grow. I stopped having to convince kids to come. The route became almost regular.

And there was peace. The chaos was gone. I was able to talk with kids and pray with them. Able to get a peek inside their lives. I learned a lot on that bus. I learned that anything about religion that couldn’t help, change or challenge those kids was not the Gospel. Helped me cut out the crap in my spiritual life. Separated tradition from what was sacred.

Those kids are now adults. Several of them attended college and some have gotten married. They got out of the ghetto. At least one of them was shot by his own uncle. Some I’ve lost track of. Some I’m friends with on Facebook. They message me once in a while to see how I’m doing.

Random Memories

Just a few things that I remember about that time… due to a kite.

* Talking to a girl about some troubles in her life. A man slams into the side of the bus begging to be let on. My trusty driver does not open the door. He ran on and was being chased by three guys with knives. The man slammed into a minivan and the guys caught up and started stabbing him. Not all the way. You put your thumb on the blade so you cut them but not kill them. I learned that. But after seeing all that, the girl just goes back to talking like it wasn’t a big deal.

* Seeing a large lady running down the street. Soon seeing another large lady running after her with a fan belt.

* Saw a pregnant woman laying in the middle of the road. Apparently having contractions.

* Pulled up to a house and the whole family bursts out from the door chasing a man. Turned out they had just caught him molesting the daughter.

* We got no answer when we called one of our kids so we went by the house. Burned out.

We all have heroes.

We have people we look up to… but is there anyone in your past that influenced or helped you even though they weren’t a big leader? Some people influence us from above where we are. I also appreciate those who motivate us by our side. Who’s done that for you?

Leave it in the comments. Thanks for reading!

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