Monday, April 6, 2009

The Arab(?) Bus Driver

“X” returned from some errands rather flustered: a bag containing some bills to be paid, my checkbook, and 200 shekels (about $50) had gotten lost. We quickly called the places he had been, but no sign of the bag had been seen. “X” suspected that he had left the bag on the bus, so I urged him to go to the last station of the bus, in hopes of retrieving the items before they would be sent to the bus company’s lost and found. A few moments after he left, the driver of the bus called me. [Since drivers have to check their vehicles for suspicious objects (bombs?) at the end of each run, the rate of finding lost objects is probably better than in most places.] He explained that he had found the bag, and gotten my phone number from the checks; we arranged to meet at the bus stop next to my house on his next run, ie., in about half and hour. He gave me his phone number and name. It was “Ali”.
“Gee”, said “X”, “He must be an Arab driver.” He was surprised, and so was I. With all the anger and wars here, it is sometimes easy to forget that not every Arab is a terrorist.
So I met the driver, and as he returned the bag I offered him money to at least pay for his phone calls to me. (I offered more than what the calls cost; the mention of the calls was to make it easier for him to accept a “reward”.
“Shucks, no, one doesn’t take money for something like that!” he replied to my offer. Then he wished me a happy Passover, and said he was glad to do a “mitzvah” (“Mitzvah” is Hebrew for a good religious deed”.) So we decided that he might be Jewish after all.
Later, I sent an SMS to his cell phone thanking him again, not only because of the money, but especially due to the worry and aggravation I was spared. (And of course I sent an email to the bus company.)
The point here being, besides the fact that I am grateful to get my money and checks back, is this: It is a misfortune that our life here has created such a chasm between the Arab and Jewish people. It is a shame that I had trouble believing that an Arab would return my property. Not every Arab is a terrorist, but our fears have erected walls that are probably unbreachable. It is a pity that in trying to protect ourselves, we tend to forget that Arabs are people. [But that doesn’t mean that I am offering them my back yard for missile practice…..or that I will forget so quickly the boys murdered and wounded by an axe-wielding terrorist so soon.] (For a similar post, see HERE.)

1 comment:

Batya said...

Lovely story. Nice to counter something less pleasant, which I'm not blogging about.