Pilgrims’ heartfelt generosity bathes the city in sunshine
July 21, 2008
The Daily Telegraph
I AM a bus driver with the State Transit Authority of NSW and want to commend all the pilgrims who are in our state for World Youth Day celebrations.
On Friday night I, together with other drivers, were called to attend Moore Park to assist in the conveyance of pilgrims back to Central railway station. Upon completing this task, we were directed by Radio Control to return back to our respective bus depots.
But near Central, I observed a large number of pilgrims _ nuns – literally shivering in the cold waiting for their designated bus.
I motioned for the sisters to jump on as I was willing to take them – much to their relief.
They all thought they had won the lottery and jumped up and down with delight when I told them that I would take them home.
During my travel along Elizabeth St in Surry Hills, I picked up more pilgrims waiting for buses. Then all along Cleveland St I stopped and picked up more pilgrims.
On reaching Anzac Parade at Moore Park, there was an extremely large number of pilgrims waiting in the cold for a bus.
Given the sheer number of pilgrims I had on my bus (it was completely full), I asked who was getting off where so I could form a travel plan.
There were the original sisters getting off at Kensington, then some for Kingsford, Maroubra, The Spot, Randwick Junction and Clovelly.
During the trip, one young lady approached me and said: “For your kind generosity of getting us out of the cold and making sure we get home, all of us would like to present you with a little gift to show our appreciation – we have all chipped in.”
At this point, I almost broke down in tears.
After returning to my depot, I had a look inside and what I saw is indicative of what these pilgrims are really about.
Inside were chocolate bars, a bottle of water, scarfs and bandannas from Texas, WYDO8 scarfs, an apple, an orange, a banana, Australian souvenirs, a packet of chips, a souvenir key ring from Texas and various other nice things.
But the one thing that really struck me was that I found a McDonald’s food voucher.
Here we have pilgrims who have worked two and three jobs to muster the money to come here to see the Holy Father.
They give the shirt off their back by giving their food voucher away as a gift to a bus driver who was concerned for them.
What a wonderful group of people these pilgrims are. These sentiments are shared with every other driver I have spoken to over the past couple of days.
Each and every one of us have said consistently, what a ray of sunshine, love and warmth descended into Sydney.
I wish they could all return soon. We would love to accommodate them again. We really love them. God bless the pilgrims in Sydney.