Luke watched in the rearview mirror as the scene on the bus unfolded. Most people thought that he was just nothing but a driver who focused on the road, but he did so much more than that.
He watched over everyone on the bus and made sure that they were safe. Especially whenever children were on the bus, but one day, everything would change.
Luke immediately noticed the young boy hopping on the bus. He always worried about children riding alone. But that’s when he noticed the strange man come in just after him.
He assumed he was the kid’s father, but he was terribly mistaken. Things only escalated from there when the man got closer to the young boy.
After driving for twenty minutes, Luke noticed the strange man getting closer and closer to the child. He started thinking he wasn’t his father, judging by the child’s reaction to him.
But things would change drastically at a moment’s notice, and Luke would be seriously concerned about the child. But he had no idea it was all due to the boy’s shoes.
Luke overheard the man speaking to the boy, “Your shoes. How is this possible?” Luke didn’t want anything to happen to the boy, so he decided to check on the boy when he stopped the bus again.
But when Luke turned to look behind him, he noticed something peculiar. The kids looked completely fine. But then he looked down at his shoes, and his mouth fell wide open.
Luke Johnson had no idea growing up that he would end up being a bus driver. He spent his years in school not really knowing what he would do.
The unmotivated Luke eventually graduated from high school and couldn’t figure out what to do. After doing odd jobs, he ended up having a job land in his lap.
He ended up being a bus driver. He never imagined himself doing it at first, but he actually found out that he enjoyed the job. He liked helping people get from point A to point B.
He liked the smiles on people’s faces when they’d get on and off the bus. He even enjoyed watching children join their parents. But things were going to take a dark turn.
A Day Like Any Other
It was a day like any other. Luke put on a warm jacket to combat the cold early morning and walked to the bus depot. From there, he was given the keys to his bus and hopped in the driver’s seat.
After leaving the depot, his shift had officially started, and he would have a long day ahead of him. But he didn’t know the twist it would take.
Shaping Up To A Dull Day
The day was shaping up to be a regular dull one. Nothing special happened most of the time, but today would be different because of one passenger.
At his second stop, he saw a small boy walk onto the bus. He couldn’t have been older than twelve. But there was one crucial detail about the boy that Luke missed, the shoes he was wearing.
A Man After Him
Just a few seconds later, a man walked onto the bus after the child. He came on so quickly that Luke assumed that he was the father.
That was further solidified by the fact that he sat on the same bench as the kid. He watched in the rearview mirror as the scene unfolded behind him. He just had no idea what he was looking at yet.
An Odd Feeling
As Luke kept up his job driving the bus around town, he wasn’t paying too much attention to everything going on behind him. He was focused on the road.
But he did occasionally glance at the rearview mirror to make sure everything was okay. Ever since the boy got on with his father, Luke felt an odd feeling overcome him.
Even though he was only twenty-five, Luke felt a strange intuition when he was around children. He always felt like he had a sixth sense when a child was in danger.
Maybe it was from all of the times he had interacted with children on the bus, but he could tell when something wasn’t right. That’s when he noticed the “father” getting closer to the boy.
Luke watched the man get closer to the boy, which confirmed his suspicions. It was all about the body language of the boy.
As he started closing the gap to the boy, he noticed that something wasn’t right. The boy looked uncomfortable. It definitely wasn’t actually his father, but Luke didn’t know half of what was going on.
Concern For The Boy
Dread crept over Luke, but he couldn’t do much. He had to keep his eyes fixed on the road to make sure every passenger felt safe.
His heart went out to the boy. He knew that he would make sure that nothing happened to the boy, but he had no idea what mistake he had made.
Two Stops Later
Two stops later, Luke decided that he would check on the boy again. He was worried that something might happen if he just minded his own business.
The man would be in for a surprise if he thought he’d be able to do anything to the boy while he was the bus driver. Luke looked behind him but couldn’t believe what he saw.
Right Next To Him
Luke went wide as he stared at the two in his bus. He understood crowding when the bus was full, but there were barely any other people inside.
There were plenty of open seats on board, so why was the man practically against the boy? Luke was getting agitated. But he didn’t know what he was getting involved in.
Getting Ready To Intervene
Luke felt his grip on the steering wheel tighten. He knew that what was going on had to be wrong. To think that he had mistaken the man for the boy’s father.
He was disgusted by the man. He was getting ready to intervene at the next stop. He was going to tell the man what he thought of him. Fantasies of kicking him off the bus brewed in his mind.
The Next Stop
Finally, the next stop came, and Luke put on the brakes. He had to open the doors of the bus to let some people off and wait for some people to get back on.
He checked his watch and saw that he could spare a minute or two, so he prepared himself for a confrontation. He cracked his knuckles and looked back at the man. But he saw the oddest thing.
Nowhere Near Him
Luke turned to see the man, but he was no longer sitting anywhere near the boy. His eyes darted around the cabin until his eyes finally met their mark. What was he doing?
The man was sitting at the opposite window from the boy now. That’s when Luke noticed another crucial detail; the man was on his phone. What was going on?
Luke took the keys out of the ignition so no one else could drive the bus and walked down the aisle toward the man.
Even though he didn’t seem to be an immediate threat anymore, he still had to make sure. He moved cautiously closer until he was standing directly in front of him. The man didn’t seem to care.
“Ahem.” Luke cleared his throat loudly so that the man would realize that he was standing right there.
He looked up at Luke with a surprised expression on his face. Clearly, he didn’t expect Luke to actually do something. But Luke wasn’t going to let anybody take advantage of a kid alone on a bus.
Luke confronted the man and asked why he was sitting so close to the kid on the bus. He even heard a passenger or two cheer him for standing up for the child.
“What?” The man said nervously. It was clear that he was on the back foot. Luke just had to keep pressuring him until he cracked. But then the unexpected happens. He heard crying.
As Luke prepared himself to throw the man out of the bus, he heard sniffing behind him. He turned to see the same boy crying. Tears were flowing freely down his face.
What had the man done to the boy to make him feel like this? Luke turned back to the man with a furious look on his face. But he had misunderstood the situation completely.
The man introduced himself as Timothy and tried to quickly clear matters up with him. “It’s not what it looks like; you don’t understand.” He pleaded.
Luke gave him a few seconds to convince him otherwise. Timothy explained that he was a father of two and was commuting for work that morning when he bumped into the boy at the bus station.
Helping The Boy
Timothy told Luke that the boy was nervous about riding the bus alone and that he thought he was making him feel more comfortable.
But if that were true, then there was still a burning question on Luke’s mind that just didn’t make any sense. But the truth would have Luke shedding tears as well as he dropped to his knees.
“Then why is he crying, and why were you sitting so close to him earlier? Luke demanded answers. The man seemed prepared for any questions thrown his way.
He told Luke that he was sitting so close because he was examining the boy’s shoes. Luke’s anger turned to confusion. “Why his shoes?” But he shouldn’t have asked that question.
Luke spun around and slowly crept toward the crying boy. He didn’t know what to expect; was this some kind of trap? The boy seemed dulled to the world around him.
Every step he took closer made his heart beat a little faster. Soon he was in a position to take a gander at the boy’s shoes, but the heartbreaking truth would have Luke tearing up.
Luke looked down at the boy’s shoes and examined them. At first, they seemed like ordinary sneakers. Sure, they used to be white in their heyday and were now stained by dirt.
Otherwise, the shoes looked completely fine. But then he stopped looking at the finer details of the shoes and at everything at once. His mouth fell open with what he saw.
He could see the truth now. The shoes weren’t actually meant for the boy at all. They were girls’ shoes. He could tell by the shape and by the pink butterflies and bow on the laces.
How could he have missed it the first time? The boy noticed him staring and explained that his mom couldn’t afford new shoes for him. This made Luke’s heart melt.
Keeping Him Behind
Luke knew he had to do something drastic. He told the father to help him with his plan. Timothy happily obliged, and the two got to work scheming.
After a few moments, the two men had already come up with a plan. Timothy already had his phone out and made the call. The boy would never see this coming.
When the boy was supposed to leave for his stop, Luke asked him to wait for a second while all the other passengers piled on and off. The boy seemed scared, which wasn’t surprising. But that’s when a woman walked onto the bus and passed Timothy a white box with a lid.
It was his wife that he had called to arrange a favor. Luke took the box and handed it to the boy. They were pure white brand-new sneakers for a boy. He hugged Luke and Timothy before saying, “Thank you, my name is Jacque, by the way.”
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.