I hopped on my trusty #14 bus to head to work this morning, Eco pass firmly in gloved hand. Noticed a young mom standing beside her daughter, cosy in her stroller. As I made my way down the crowded aisle — its rush hour of course — I heard the plaintive yowling of a cat.
On the flat platform near the front door of the bus sat the source of the unusual sound. The mom positioned herself to comfort not only the anxious cat in an unfamiliar kennel in an unfamiliar moving setting, but also to give her daughter a healthy snack, loosen her snowsuit and keep her well occupied.
As my own stop approached I made my way forward and asked where she’d be getting off the bus. I stayed on a couple of extra stops, to help her lift the crying cat, increasingly fussy daughter, kennel, snow sled, stroller and assorted back packs to solid snow covered ground.
We made our way to her next bus stop. Yes this was the beginning of her journey on yet another bus, while mine was ending, still conveniently close to my workplace. She explained she does this once a month, as the apartment building where she lives does precautionary pest spraying. She needs to take her cat somewhere safe for the duration of the treatment.
She said this trip was a bit easier because she had a borrowed kennel. In the past she used a cardboard box, all that she had available. She turned to adjust the kennel on the snow sled one last time, and like a well choreographed move in the dance of life, I caught the handle of her daughter’s stroller just before it headed into the rush hour traffic at Portage and Fort. We waited across the street for her next bus to arrive.
I hope that someone notices her burden of the day and lends a hand or two, because they can. As for me, I’m allergic to cats, but recognize an opportunity to earn my angel wings most days of the week. It’s called caring and compassion.
This month, CNC is taking a closer look at compassion in our city. In addition to hosting a Town Hall Forum on the subject at the Winnipeg Free Press Cafe on January 23 at 7:00 pm, we’re also encouraging CNC reporters to write about compassion.