“Do I have to ride the bus today?” I knew what the answer would be, but I had to ask, just in case.
Riding the bus every morning was the worst. The older kids teased me. It was hard to find a seat. And I was always lonely.
“Yes, Jason,” Mom said. “Dad already left in the car.”
I dragged my feet to the bus stop. I’d do anything to not ride the bus. Then I had an idea. I jumped behind a big tree.
I heard the bus slow down and stop. Then I heard it pull away.
I did it! I didn’t have to ride the bus. Why hadn’t I thought of this before?
I walked back home and told Mom that the bus had left without me. I promised to be more careful next time. She called Dad, and he came home to drive me to school.
Later that day I saw Ryan, a boy who rode on my bus.
“What happened to you this morning?” he asked.
“I missed the bus,” I said.
“I know, but why were you hiding behind a tree?”
Oh no! “You saw me?”
“Yup. Everyone did.”
I groaned. Now they would tease me more than ever!
All day long I worried. How could I possibly ride the bus now?
The next day I trudged back to the bus stop. Why did I hide? This was going to be the worst ride to school ever!
I squeezed my eyes shut and prayed. Heavenly Father, Please help me be OK on the bus.
Just then the bus turned the corner and slowly rumbled to my stop. The doors opened, and I climbed up the stairs.
Ryan waved and patted the seat next to him. “You can sit here,” he said.
My eyes widened in surprise. Ryan was funny and had lots of friends. And he wanted to sit by me?
“You didn’t hide today,” he said.
I shook my head, hoping he wasn’t going to tease me.
“I don’t like riding the bus, either,” Ryan said. “But it’s a lot better when you sit by a friend.”
I was even more surprised. Did Ryan feel lonely sometimes too?
We talked the whole way to school. Some of the older kids still teased me, but it was easy to ignore them when I had a friend. It was the best ride to school ever!
But the next morning I was worried again. Would Ryan save me a seat? As I climbed up the stairs, I saw Ryan. He smiled and waved me over. It felt so good to have a friend to sit and laugh with. Ryan was my school-bus hero!
The next day Ryan wasn’t on the bus. But before I could panic, I remembered what Ryan had said: I don’t like riding the bus, either, but it’s a lot better when you sit by a friend.
Maybe there was someone else who needed a friend too. I spotted an empty seat next to a quiet boy I had seen at recess. I sat down next to him and asked what his name was.
“Blake,” he said.
Soon we were talking and laughing. I made another new friend!
For the rest of the year I was never afraid to ride the bus again. I knew what it felt like to be alone, so whenever I saw a kid looking around for a place to sit, I patted the seat next to me. I could be a school-bus hero too.