Why I feel blessed this Ramadan

By Rohma Sadaqat

The last thing I expected to find, when I hopped onto the bus after work, was a moving story that I would be willing to share; however, it is funny how life throws inspiration at you when you least expect it.

This tale began a few days into Ramadan when I boarded the Sharjah RTA bus for home. On a good day, the drive home to Sharjah from Dubai usually takes around 40 minutes; on a bad day… well, let’s just say I have sat in a bus for over three hours. But, this was a good day; it was just after 8pm and I was confident about reaching home in under an hour. The wonderful thing about taking public transportation on a regular basis is that the bus drivers know you. Oftentimes now, as soon as I hand over the bus fare, I get a smile and a “Khaleej Times bus stop, miss?” thrown my way.

This time, however, the driver was an unfamiliar chap. After being handed my ticket, I sat down in the first row and pulled out my phone. I had previously missed a call from my dad and I was eager to call him back. As it turned out, the call was a routine follow up asking me what time I would be arriving home and if I wanted to eat anything. After assuring him that I was safely on the bus and would be home soon, I put away my phone and settled in for a peaceful ride. The bus was largely devoid of passengers so I thought I was imagining that the driver had turned his head to ask me if I had eaten something for Iftar.

Once I figured out what he had asked, I rushed to assure him that, yes, I had broken my fast properly in the office. From there, the conversation turned into more familiar waters and I answered all his questions about what I did at work. His concern over me having to stay in the office after Iftar was touching, but nothing prepared me for the absolute tidal wave of emotions I would feel when we neared my stop.

As I prepared to step off the bus, the driver asked me to wait a moment. He then reached into his bag and pulled out my bus fare. Looking at my confused expression, he said that he would cover the cost of my trip. Even now, as I think back to his earnest expression, I feel the warmth of the gesture. Despite his insistence on taking my fare back, I refused to take it and instead asked him for an even bigger gift. “It is Ramadan and it would mean a lot to me if you offered a prayer for me instead,” I told him. His delighted smile and assurances stayed with me long after I stepped off the bus that night.

Rohma @khaleejtimes.com

If you see Rohma on the bus or the metro, come say hello, and we can chat about random acts of kindness that have restored our faith in humanity

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