Today’s Child


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I would never have noticed the unaccompanied child getting on the bus if I’d not already been distracted from reading my book.

The girl, no older then eight, was alone and judging by her school uniform and the time, she’d just come from her last lesson of the day. She was talking to the bus driver. I couldn’t hear what was being said, but to me the driver looked like a giant towering over her.

I took my headphones off and leaned in closer.

She was saying something about going to her granny’s, but she didn’t have any money. Someone had stolen it and she didn’t know what else to do. Her little face was trying hard not to crumple into tears.

The bus driver waved her on without further ado.

The girl went to the first empty seat and sat down. She took off a pink plastic backpack and placed it on her lap, her fingers wrapped around the straps. She looked out of the window and I watched her swinging legs.

Why was she traveling alone? How could her parents, her granny let her? Maybe she was older then she looks. I’ve seen twelve year olds who look like eight year olds, but she seemed so small.

Should I do something or not?

Glancing around, I saw no one else was interested in the child. The handful of people were staring at their phones or newspapers or at something else. I wanted to think that at lest someone else was concerned about the little girl. Like me though, they were debating still.

The bus had passed two more stops in this time and I noticed my street would be coming up soon. I still didn’t know what to do.

At the stop before mine, the girl climbed down off the seat and rang the bell. When the bus slowed into the bus stop, I saw an old woman standing on the pavement with a little dog. The girl got off the bus and ran to her.

Feeling thankful for that, I gathered my things and rang the bell for the next stop.

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