The Christmas Gift Bag Bus Chase

by on October 25th, 2010
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Christmas was again upon us. Today was not going very well. I was not able to go to work. The van broke down after 11 years of loyal service. Now the mechanics have it held hostage and I needed to go to stores to finish my part of the fulfillment of the Christmas tradition. I brought my son, then 3 years old, on the inevitable bus ride. No time for a baby sitter and the wife was at work.

We rode the bus on the way back at the same time as another father and son tandem. The boy was probably five or six years old. The father looked like a kindly man. He had a ready smile and was to my first impression a pleasant man. We locked eyes and nodded to one another rather cordially. My son took the initiative of sitting beside the other boy. All was fine and dandy. Peace on earth good and will to men I thought to myself. Then though not wanting to sleep I closed my eyes while one hand held our purchases and the other my little three year old’s hand. I peacefully sat in my seat as the bus lurched forward.

I must have dozed off. Because I woke up and our seatmates were standing up getting ready to get off at the next stop. As they were stepping off the father indicated that their connecting bus was just a small distance away. Right as they were getting off I saw my son holding a slightly familiar gift bag. I asked him how he got his hands on his loot. He replied, ” Cars, mine, okay?”. Inside the bag was 4 die cast cars. I realized where I saw that bag before. It was the other boy’s bag. He was holding it in his hands right before I dozed off.

I hurriedly stood just in time right before the bus driver closed the door. I saw our seatmates ride their bus. Their bus door closed but I saw the next bus following close by. We rode it chasing after the man and that boy. I was determined to return the package that was in my son’s hands. After all it was Christmas.

Of course they got off the first bus at their stop sooner than we did. Lugging my shopping bags I urged my son to catch up to them. We finally did after about 4 minutes of going on a semi -sprint. They stopped at their house and as the man fumbled for his keys. I finally caught up to them and was able to address him.

“I am sorry for what my son did.” I blurted out. “He took your son’s gift bag. Here it is.”, I said as I grabbed the gift bag from my son and gave it back to the boy. The man smiled the most toothiest of smiles. “I am sorry for the confusion.” he said.” While you were sleeping my son noticed that your son was looking at the bag. We agreed beforehand that this would be a gift for any random stranger we did not know. It was his decision to make. He opened the bag and your son looked in. Your son smiled and my son gave him his gift. They said Merry Christmas to each other. So this is really your sons. Merry Christmas!”, he said and somehow I really knew he meant it.

I walked with my son back to the bus stop bags in one hand and my son’s hand in the other. In his other hand he proudly clutched his gift. I looked at his innocent face. He flashed a knowing smile right back. Even at three years old he knew and understood. “Merry Christmas Dad,” he said. “Merry Christmas son.” I replied back.

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