Choosing to Be Happy



I was on the bus home the other night, and was tired and more than a little cranky after a long commute – I take the subway, ferry, and bus in order to get to my New York City home each night. But something happened on that bus ride to put a spring in my step and a smile on my face.

How a bus driver taught me a life lesson about happiness

That was the MTA bus driver. Or, more to the point, the bus driver’s attitude. For starters, he announced announce each stop with a cheerful voice. Most of the time on my bus ride home, the bus driver does not announce even one stop, even though it is a helpful hint on a crowded bus that it is time to get ready to exit. So that was a real plus.

Then there was the friendliness that he showed to every single bus customer, whether entering the bus or exiting. The bus driver also whistled a happy tune – literally – during the ride. He was positively bursting with positive energy, and I was so impressed I had to say something.

So as I was heading off the bus, I told him that he was the friendliest, happiest driver that I had ever seen. He smiled and said that he didn’t want to pass on misery to other people. I told him that he had done the opposite with me, putting me in a much better frame of mind than I started with.

The driver had his job to do, and I had to get off the bus and get home, but I was impressed by that philosophy. The bus driver surely didn’t have the easiest life – operating a motor vehicle like a bus in New York City, navigating city traffic, and having to deal with cranky customers each day – but he consciously chose not to take out his own life concerns during his route. Instead, he chose to be positive, and to lighten up his customers’ day. He certainly did mine.

Choosing to be happy

So this is a life lesson for me, and for you. Why not choose to be happy, instead of being miserable at the everyday travails of life? The next time I feel annoyed over the usual things that bother me, like commuting, I’m going to remember this bus driver and try to turn that frown upside down!