The bus was empty so I decided to sit on the lower deck, at the front, there was only one other passenger on the bus who sat in front of me, a few minutes went by and I noticed that she kept turning back and looking at me. She looked very fimiliar, but I didn’t know who she was or where I knew her from. Everytime she turned around I smiled at her, but she would quickly look away. I didn’t mind the starting, as it has become the norm I know some people do it out of curiosity, others do it beacuse feel sorry for me they think I am oppressed and limited, some do it out of ignorance, but whatever the reason it doesn’t bother me. The glances kept exchanging back and forth throughout the entire journey.
Until we came to a stop where she picked up her bag and stoop up, to my surprise she turned facing towards me and looked me in the eyes, shivers went down my spine, I was scared I didn’t know what to expect. I was scared at the thought of her pulling my scarf off or making a Islamophobic comment or even worse a death threat. I WAS SCARE, I WANTED TO RUN.
“Beauty is like a book it cannot be judged by its cover you look beautiful in your Hijab, don’t let society define you” she said with a smiled and got off the bus.
I was left speech less I didn’t know what to say I just froze, I wasn’t sure about what just happened. Before this incidence I only heard of strangers being nice to Muslims on buses and trains, I’ve read numerous posts and articles on how random strangers left thoughtful notes and messages for Muslims, but today I experienced it for myself.
I was hoping to bump into her again, but it didn’t seen like it would happen until Friday, on Friday she came and sat next to me said “I’M SORRY” I was confused, about why she was apologising, so I asked her why and what she was sorry for. “I’m sorry for being ignorant, and thinking all Muslims are terrorists , and judging you based on your religion, and they way you dress, and thinking you are less than me. I’m sorry for the media and how it portrays Muslims in a negative way”. I wish the media would show us all the kind-hearted Muslims like yourselves. I know a lot of people are frustrated because of recent events, but a small minority of people are to blame. I if there is anything I have learnt is that, don’t blindly follow what the media says. There are so many good people in this world like you.
At this point I was even more confused because I didn’t know her, but she spoke to me as if she knew me. She must have sensed what I was thinking, as she went on to say, “I know what you’re thinking and I promise I not some weirdo stalking you. I am June’s daughter Joslyn.
NOTE: June is an elderly women whom I often see on the bus. I have known her for about 3 years now. She is the sweetest person I have ever met, she is full of wisdom, stories and laughter. There is never a dull moment when she is around. She also bakes the most delicious treats, now that is just a bonus.
“My mum always talks about this sweet, eccentric girl that she meets on the bus that is full of life, who has so much positivity and love to share with the people. She talks about how you always greet her Good Morning with a massive smile on your face and ask how she is and how her day was. She always looks forward to seeing and talking to you.”
“When my mum first told me you were a Muslim I was a little taken back because my mum is a devoted Catholic Christian who isn’t very fond of Muslims, so it was strange when I heard her say nice things about you. You changed her views and opinions towards Muslim and I know that is not something easy to do especially when the person is stubborn, but I do not know how you did it, but you did. I now understand why my mum adores you. I have observed you for the over the past couple of days and I have noticed how friendly and approachable you are. Most people on the bus know you by name and vise versa. It amazes me how you interact with people not many people talk to one another these days especially to strangers, but there something different about you.”
We came to my stop so I stood up as I stood up she stood up too and gave me a hug and said, “Thank You for changing our views about Islam and Muslims.”
Truth be told I should be the one thanking her she has restored my faith in humanity. Maybe humanity does still exist, maybe there is still hope for us after all. Needless to say we need more people like this in the world.
Reflecting back on the incident it made me think, what if I wasn’t a Muslim and never met a Muslim and everything I knew about Islam and Muslims was based on what I saw on TV, and what the media told me. I can still hold people responsible for having such view. It made me consider, how it was up to me to show the world what Islam really is through my good actions. I know one person cannot make much of a difference, but if we all did our bit the world would be a better place.