Sharing in Our Humanity

 It was a Saturday afternoon, about 1:30, on a beautiful winter’s day and I was getting on the 86th Street bus. If you have ever been on this bus, you know it is full of New Yorkers as well as tourists. I knew this was not going to be your typical bus ride.  The driver was singing the Frank Sinatra song “New York, New York,” asking everyone to join in.  We walked on the bus cautiously, looking at the driver as if he were nuts. It was funny to watch us humans begin to smile and relate to this silly bus driver man.

The driver yelled out, “Anyone having a birthday?”  A little boy in the back bus yelled out, “It’s my birthday!” and the driver rallied the whole bus to join in a modern rendition of happy birthday.  The whole bus broke out in a chorus of “Happy Birthday” for the little boy in back of the bus. The driver told knock knock jokes as we crossed Central Park, going to the Westside.

This driver was able to do the impossible – get New Yorkers to stop reading their iPhones and relate to each other.

We are all so bombarded with fast ways of communicating. It’s like living on a diet of fast foods.

We walk on the streets and we drive our cars with our heads down, reading and sending and receiving.  The subtle nuances of communicating face to face are getting lost.

Humans have a basic need to be heard and seen in a real and authentic way. When provided with that opportunity, we open up and get to experience ourselves in the world.  I call it “the point of entry,” that very unique way in which people let you in to begin the conversation, to get to know you. The bus driver had a unique gift for creating an atmosphere of fun and delight and humor, of touching people and bringing them out of the mundane. His desire to connect, to be creative and to entertain was the catalyst for his actions.

When I am with a client or facilitating a group, I look for that point of entry.  It is the start of the communication process. It creates the safety needed to begin to share.

In all the work I do, I see how important it is for people to connect with one another and share our common humanity.



  1. Gemma Page Thompson June 5, 2013 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    That’s lovely Mike. I’m all for singing on buses!

  2. Marius June 6, 2013 at 10:47 am - Reply

    This is so very true, spoken language is just a small percentage from the hole message that we want to share. Nowadays if you want to meet a girl, you have to ask her facebook page or twitter to chat with her first ( I think this is the present entry point ) . I miss old days when one had to bring flowers and meet their parents.

  3. Stu Filan June 10, 2013 at 9:01 am - Reply

    Great New York City story Mike. I really enjoyed it. I only wish I could have those kind of interactions on my bus or subway rides!

  4. Mary Ishmael June 29, 2013 at 9:55 am - Reply

    Great story of people opening to each other! We all need human touch, and not just skin-to-skin, but also that which touches all our other senses, and ultimately touches our heart and soul, as this remarkable bus driver’s voice and its domino effect did!

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