In The Back Of The Bus

I love seeing the sign on the bus commemorating the heroism of Rosa Parks for civil rights.However, on this Thanksgiving, I was reminded that all is still not well when it comes to bigotry and racism in this country.I rode the S bus this evening–the one that goes up and down Collins Avenue in Miami Beach.The beautiful architecture of the luxury condominiums and hotels, and the palm trees, beach and waterways, along with a good smattering of fancy automobiles and yachts, makes for some impressive┬áscenery.

But this is in stark contrast to most of the people on the bus, who come from a much poorer lifestyle.

This afternoon, the bus was very crowded and my daughter and I found ourselves in the back of the bus.

And the vibes were not very good at all!

First, there was a young lady dressed somewhat scantilly, and there was a guy riding in the back row who just kept looking her up and down–again and again. I imagined how uncomfortable and scared she must feel. But within a few minutes, I was glad when I saw her get off the bus, safely.

Now, I guess it was our turn, unfortunately. And beside the man who had been ogling the woman is a another guy. This guy has wild hair and his eyes are intensely dark, and he is staring at me.

First, when I noticed him doing it, I did the usual quick look back, which shows the person you are noticing them staring at you, and then they stop, right? That’s what usually happens, but not this time.

This guy stares straight at me with piercing angry eyes–and he won’t stop.

I look over at my daughter to make sure she is okay, but she is aware that something is wrong and that there is danger nearby, sitting just a few feet away.

I look up front to see if we can move away–but the bus is still crowded and we are sort of hemmed in.

The guy continues to stare straight in my face, and there is no avoiding it any longer.

I say, “Are you looking at me?”

He continues to stare, doesn’t say a word, and he looks up at my Jewish head covering, my Yarmulka. Then he lifts his hand–he points first at his eyes and then straight at me.

I get my daughter up and we squeeze our way forward toward the front of the bus. Thank G-d, this guy didn’t pursue.

We lost our seat, but by the way this guy looked menacingly at us, I think we could’ve lost a lot more.

This was quite a frightening situation, and it made me think that while the Rosa Parks sign on the bus has a permanent place there, unfortunately, there are still lots of people who hold onto blind hatred and refuse to let it go.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)