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Column: Two magic words that make all the difference
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

Sometimes I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but I have a knack for remembering songs I learned when I was a child.

I learned quite a few of them.

There is a song I remember that was quite simple, yet, quite prophetic.

“There are two little magic words that will open any door with ease. One little word is thanks, and the other little word is please.

”We should teach more of that to today’s kids. Gratitude is a missing element in so many children’s minds and vocabularies. Nothing makes me happier than when the world’s most perfect offspring (I’m not allowed to say grandson anymore in print) says, “Thank you, Pa.”

I give a lot of credit to the one who brought him into this world. She’s done a wonderful job.

On my bus, I have a little girl who is the first child I pick up each morning. Even with the time change, it is still dark when I pull up to her driveway. 

A few weeks ago, it was bus driver appreciation week. She wrote me a note. 

“You are the best bus driver ever, and you are cool,” she said.

If that doesn’t warm your heart, something is wrong with you.

I have a little girl who said, “Why do they say on TV that White people don’t like dark people?” That will get your attention very quickly. 

“You are so nice to us and drive us safely and give us snacks,” she said.

That ranks right there with being called the best bus driver ever.

You hold a special place in your heart for little folks like that. I think about them every time I cross a railroad track or an intersection. I trust little kids. I don’t trust drivers.

I think the boxcar carrying good manners derailed somewhere. No matter where you go, you are likely to encounter a grumpy person with a chip on their shoulder. I make an effort to turn some of them around by offering a compliment or a word of thanks. It works about one-third of the time.

I see hardworking teachers dealing with temperamental kids. When the time is right, I thank them for what they do. They are teaching in an environment where a student could be the carrier of COVID-19 and balks at the notion of wearing a protective mask.

They continue to care for and teach the children and are doing everything to keep them on track with their studies.

I never dreamed of being a bus driver, much less a cool one, but I love those little rascals. They sometimes are full of energy and want to bounce around on the seats. But, an occasional word of thanks is a handsome payoff for what you have to do.

There are people you depend on regularly to help you. Those two little magic words, please and thank you, can go a long way to making a challenging day a bit brighter.

At the end of my run, I walk the bus to make sure nobody is asleep or left something important. It’s all in the day of a cool bus driver.​


Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the weekend Life page and on www.gainesvilletimes.com.

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