So I started working at a grown up job about a month ago. I have a big desk and a swivel chair and one of those mouse pads with a cushy wrist support. Working a 9-5 (or rather 8-6, but who’s counting?) includes riding the bus downtown Monday through Friday around the same time every day. Now I’ve always been a bus rider, both here and abroad, but during university I took a different bus every day, depending on the semester’s class schedule and extracurricular activities. Taking the same bus at the same time everyday I’ve begun to notice patterns and people who have become part of my peripheral existence. There is the Indian man with the backpack that always wears plaid. There’s the skinny Asian guy that always elbows you as if you’re taking up too much space when you’re sitting as far away from him as possible. But my favorite character every morning is American Hat Guy.
American Hat Guy is a tall older Haole gentleman that is the adult version of a Boy Scout. Every day he wears an American flag printed baseball cap with his long gray hair in the most absurd ponytail (not 1, but 2 rubber bands-one at the base and one halfway down like how my dad used to make me wear my hair to ride motorcycle). He carries a lunchbox and a reusable shopping bag fully stocked with anything American Hat Guy or his fellow bus riders could ever need-an umbrella, cough drops, water bottle, etc. The most remarkable thing about American Hat Guy though is not his Boy Scout level preparedness. Every day at Fort Street Mall-the busiest stop on the line-he stands outside the bus and holds the door for every single person that gets off.
If you notice, he gets up from his seat one stop before Fort Street and makes his way to the back door of the bus so that he can be the first one out. And he stands there holding the door until everybody is safely off the bus. I’d like to think that American Hat Guy makes other people’s days better. I guess now that I have a real job and not as many exciting things happen, there is more time to notice the small things around me. Some of those small things have become incessantly annoying undercurrents to my day – like the ceaseless ringing of the phone in the office next door. But some of them-like American Hat Guy and his good karma deeds-make my day a little brighter.