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Recently, I was travelling in a Matale-bound bus from Kandy. In the middle of the journey a schoolboy boarded the bus and sat beside me. After a while the conductor came to him asked in a confusing language something to which the boy replied that he got into the bus from Madawala. The conductor with a surprise look told him, “We have already passed Madawala two miles beyond. I am sorry Putha, but now we cannot turn back the bus and drop you at your halt,” to which the boy replied, “No Uncle, I got in at Madawala and going to Wattegama,” Then only I realized the conductor had played a joke on the boy.

Afterwards he inquired where the boy went as it being a Sunday and the boy replied that he went to the tuition class while tendering him Rs.20 note for the bus fare. Then the conductor asked his age and the boy replied that he was 11 years. “Are you trying to fool me? You look as you had a shave today morning also,” quipped the conductor jokingly. Then he returned the money and said, “I should not charge the bus fare from you. You are a student and not earning money.”

When the boy stood up to get down near his halt the conductor asked the boy to remain in the seat till the bus halted and led him to the door when the bus stopped.

It was a pleasant surprise to meet such a private bus conductor filled with milk of human kindness. But in contrast another species belonging to the same breed exists with completely opposite attributes that are not rare and multiplying at a rapid rate. That species is the rude, inconsiderate, money-greedy private bus conductors and who worship Mammon.

It is a rare and fortunate chance to stumble upon human beings of such sovereign qualities among our midst who are worthy to be emulated and appreciated.

A.E.