by Jeffery Hosick from Kentville, NS
When I was little, I was fascinated with buses. I knew I wanted to be a bus driver one day. My dream was shuffled to the back of my mind when we moved to rural Ontario. Elementary, high school and university came and went. I heard there was a bus company in Toronto that had summer positions, so I applied and got the job.
One day, during a layover, I sat in the driver’s seat of my quiet bus, munching on a sandwich, when it hit me: I was living the dream of my 3 year old self. I remembered my childhood fascination with buses and how I loved the way the doors magically folded open, with a hiss of air, parting like the Red Sea, when the bus came to a stop. Since no one was watching I started gleefully clicking the doors of the bus open and closed, open and closed, open and closed.
It may have been my state of childish glee, or my ADD, I am not sure, but I noticed a peculiar pattern in how the doors opened and closed. There was a significant pause from the moment I clicked the door switch, to when they started to move. I wondered, once the door was open would it be possible to toggle the door switch and jump through the opening before the doors fully closed? I was game to find out. I practiced opening and closing the door until I felt I was ready to try my experiment. With my adrenaline at a peak, I opened the door one last time and, poised for action, I toggled the door closed and jumped.
Things didn’t work out as I had imagined.
Almost immediately, I was overcome with a deep sense of compression. I had overestimated my agility and the doors pressed on my sternum and backbone without compromise. “Oh, My God!” I wheezed, as the air in my lungs rushed past my teeth. I was caught. In my haste I had failed to create an escape plan. It was then I had visions of a whole fleet of buses coming into the station with eager passengers looking at a bus driver who somehow was caught in the doors of his own bus.
I could have a whole station of people, bus drivers and dispatchers come and stand around me witnessing this odd event and milking every drop before they released me. Being a divinity student, I thought there was no better time to offer a prayer. “Dear Jesus, if there was ever a time when I need some help, it’s now. Please help me!”
Some say it was an answer to prayer, others say it was a panic-induced state of heightened awareness, but suddenly I noticed through the glass the air pressure release on the inside of the door at the front. I managed to push it then push the doors open to free myself.
I quietly gave a great prayer of thanksgiving and returned to eating my lunch. Soon my time came to drive again and I pulled on the platform to my waiting passengers. After boarding and in those few moments when we wait for stragglers, the person in the front seat asked. “How did you get that big black mark all down the back of your shirt?” I replied, “I don’t really know, but I have one down the front just like it.”