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Ron Kaye: Depending on the kindness of strangers

June 02, 2011|By Ron Kaye

In the cynicism of our “Hollywood” mentality, we see all too often that what matters most is who you know, not what you know and who you are.

But in the moment-to-moment engagements of our daily lives, it sometimes matters more how we treat the people we don’t know, or hardly know, and how they treat us. It’s what gives a sense of intimacy, of community, of being part of something greater than ourselves in a vast, sprawling metropolis where so much that goes on seems cold and impersonal — heartless, even.

Those thoughts came into focus last Wednesday with the drama that unfolded when my wife left her purse on the Route 222 bus that dropped her off outside the Warner Bros. studio in Burbank, where she works.

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You have to be pretty distracted to leave your purse on a bus, and she was.

Her car was in the shop. She was running late, worried about missing the Media District bus at the end of the Orange Line Busway in North Hollywood, thinking about all she had to do to get ready to leave town Thursday morning for a family event back East.

As she stood on the curb at Lankershim waiting for the interminably long light to change, she saw the Media District bus pulling away and fumed about how a key point of bus-subway connection for thousands of public-transit users could be designed in a way that maximized traffic flow for cars and penalized pedestrians.

So she waited and waited for the next Media District bus, shared her breakfast of strawberries and apples with a homeless man, and found out from others at the bus stop that the Media District bus she saw departing, the 9:17 a.m., was the last one until evening rush hour. She would have to take the airport bus and transfer to the Route 222 bus to get to work.

That threw her into a tizzy. It was well past 10 a.m. when she ran across Hollywood Way and barely caught the 222 that in due time dropped her off at Warner Bros.

As the bus pulled away, she reached for her purse to show her driver’s license to the security guard and realized there was no purse. No credit cards, no cash, no cell phone, no driver’s license.

“Oh, my God,” she thought, “no I.D. I’ll never be able to get on the plane tomorrow.”

That’s when I became a hero in my wife’s eyes.

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