The Back of the Bus

Please note, in this blog post I do not want to suggest that people take the bus solely out of economic/financial/socioeconomic necessity. There are many who take it due to the benefits to the environment, traffic flow (less cars), and because it is a great way to do work/read on the way to/from work.

When I traveled from Kelowna, BC to my parent’s place recently, I traveled by city transit. It reminded me why I enjoy sitting at the back of the bus.

Having worked or been in school at a university, UBC, for the past few years, I learned to discuss and think about academic issues, issues facing groups of individuals, and some possible solutions. I forgot about some who may never have the opportunity to join me between the four walls in a post-secondary course.

Sitting at the back of the bus, you realize many people are struggling just to get by (based on conversations I “accidentally” overhear). Listening to their conversations, they are worried if they have enough money to pay the bus fare after they go pick up their groceries from the food bank.

They are worried about the basic needs of life – shopping for foods, finding money in August to buy school supplies for their children to start school in September, paying utilities and rent to ensure their family is kept warm and dry at night and that their children have somewhere to call home, and trying to find time to read their youngest daughter a bedtime story in between several part-time jobs (let’s not get started on the lack of benefits from most part-time employment opportunities). These things I will likely never experience.

After a few years I forgot about some of my neighbours and friends. They can’t talk about what they want in life – intellectual stimulation, fun, solutions to the world’s problems, a big savings account for a comfortable retirement – because society hasn’t met their basic needs.

I’m worried about what restaurant I’m eating at for the second night in a row. They’re worried about getting coupons to ensure the little bit of cash they have saved this week will buy enough groceries and clothes for their kids. They’ve yet to figure out how they will afford to eat this week. This will come after day 3 of not eating.

This is what I learned on a 60 minute bus ride. What this century provides in opportunities for society.

This century is about more than getting a good education and learning. It is about optimism to provide the opportunity for every single human and individual in our society to get a strong foundation. To learn about themselves, their family, about the world, the words of philosophers, development of technology, the written text of literature, and the jumble of mathematics.

I come from a family that is in the top 1.5% in the world in terms of annual income. My parents, teachers, and mentors have fulfilled my basic needs, and most of my wants. I’m now learning how to do this on my own as a young adult. I got a great classroom education, and discovered more than I imagined about myself outside the classroom at UBC – one of the top 30 universities in the world.

What I forgot during my years at UBC as a student, how does my shopping at WalMart so I save a few dollars on a grocery trip so I can buy a new iPad affect a family that owns a business.

One thing I would put on your bucketlist. If you have never sat at the back of a city bus, I highly recommend it.

To find my bucket list, search for Adam Goodwin Bucket List.


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Adam Goodwin is changing the world by growing the local #TakeTheActivePledge to a global movement. He is currently Marketing Coordinator for Okanagan Elite Athlete. Along with his start-up one3ag, he is changing the lives of individual children, teen, youth, adults, and older adults with the #TakeTheActivePledge movement. Join him today to help save a generation.

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