Diana Hudson’s business was successful, the woman owned a chain of clothing stores. But she was not only an accomplished businesswoman, but also a great friend and a person with many hobbies. Her friends would tell you, that she was perfect, and could do anything. Like really anything.. Skiing, skating, painting, horse back riding. Who would be the best at embroidery? Of course, Diana. There was only one flaw, that she had. Diana Hudson couldn’t drive.
She was a well-off woman and could hire a personal driver if she wanted. But there was another reason, why she never tried to get a driving license. She couldn’t get over the fact, that she lost her beloved husband in an awful car accident. So Diana’s regular transportation was the bus.
It was an ordinary morning, and Diana was getting ready for work. After she was done with her morning routine and glanced at her watch, she realized that she was running late, and her bus would be leaving the bus stop in ten minutes. She swiftly grabbed her papers and ran out of the house, leaving her coat on the hook.
When Diana came to the bus stop, the bus wasn’t there yet. Ten minutes later – there was no sign of bus. Diana was getting anxious, as she planned an important meeting with Sweden investors scheduled for 10:30 that day, and she had to be there right on time. She contemplated taking a cab, but then dropped the idea out of fear. Luckily she finally saw the bus headlights approaching.
As soon as the driver stopped, Diana hopped onto the bus. She was about to sit down, when she heard the driver’s voice. It turned out that she had forgotten to pay the fare. With the words of apology the woman went to get her fare card, but she could not find it anywhere. The driver asked Diana to hurry up with the payment, because the road was slippery with snow, and he had to drive slower than usual, and the other passengers had no time to wait.
Having realized that she left her coat, Diana uttered: “I’m sorry, but apparently I left my fare card at home.” The driver replied, that there was nothing wrong with that, and the fare could be paid in cash.
If Diana had her wallet, surely she would have given the driver three dollars (which was the fare cost), and the matter would have been settled. But she had left her wallet at home, along with her fare card. Diana admitted this to the driver, and he asked her to leave the cabin.
Diana was desperate. “Sir, please, help me! As soon as we get to the office building, I’ll ask my colleague to pay for me. I can’t be late, I have an important meeting. And it’s only three dollars.”
The driver chuckled and said: “Honey, it’s not the first time I hear tales like this. But the truth is, people are just making up excuses not to pay the fare.”
The passengers on the bus began to mock Diana. “Look at her, she buys fancy clothes, and doesn’t have three dollars in her pocket!”, said one of the women sarcastically. The man in the front added: “She’s just pretending to be rich, wearing a fake. Why would a rich person ride a bus?”
Another passenger seconded him: “That’s right. How many times I’ve seen them. They lie just so they don’t have to pay the fare.”
Diana was horrified by what she heard. She tried to defend herself, but people didn’t even want to listen. Hoping the driver would change his mind, Diana asked again for help, but he told her to step out of the cabin and not hold the bus any longer.
Frustrated Diana was on her way out, when someone said: “Wait, don’t rush to get off. I can lend you 3 dollars.
Diana looked up and saw an old woman. She was dressed very poorly, faded skirt was showing from under the battered coat. Her boots were so shabby, they have lost their shape.
“What is your name?”, Diana asked.
“Karen Bell, but you can just call me Karen,” she heard back. Soon the bus pulled up at the next stop, and the old woman headed for the exit. Diana held her up and asked her to exchange numbers, so she could give the woman her fare back.
Smiling, the old lady said: “All right, you can write down my number, but on one condition.”
“What do I have to do?” asked Diana.
“You don’t have to give me anything back. But promise me you’ll come to my place this Sunday for dinner. Deal?”
“No problem!” smiled Diana cheerfully. She liked the old lady’s offer. The work week ended, and Diana drove out to visit Karen Bell. When she pressed the bell, the door got opened almost immediately. A young woman in a wheelchair was greeting her.
“Is this where Karen Bell lives? My name is Diana, and we made an appointment”, Diana said.
“Yes, please, come in. My name is Emma, I’m Karen’s daughter,” the woman replied affably.
Diana stepped into the room and looked around. The condition of the house was not much better than the old woman’s clothes. The furniture in the living room was old and broken.
At this point Karen appeared. She exclaimed: “Welcome, Diana! It’s good to see you again. I hope you found our house quickly?”
“Thank you! That’s all right,” Diana said.
The women quickly set the table and started dinner. Over conversation the evening flew by unnoticed. While Emma was in the kitchen, Diana asked Karen why she was confined to a wheelchair. The old lady said that her daughter had been in a terrible car accident that left Emma’s lower half paralyzed. Left without a job, Emma tried in vain to find some kind of employment.
Diana listened to Karen’s story and felt sorry for the poor women. Then Diana had a great idea. Grateful for Karen’s kindness, she offered Emma a position in her office.
“No-no, are you kidding”, exclaimed Karen, when she herd. “This is too generous, we cant accept it”.
But Diana didn’t take no for an answer: “Please, don’t refuse, Karen! You’ve given me a helping hand in my time of need, let me thank you.
“Tears glistened in the old woman’s eyes. “I don’t even know what to say. You have no idea, what are you doing for us. I thank you from the bottom of my heart!”
After the weekend, things changed for Emma. She got a position as a junior web designer at Diana’s firm and could work from home remotely. Emma proved her worth, and after a while Diana promoted her to a lead of the design team. A sincere friendship developed between Karen and Diana. They often visited each other’s homes and spent Christmas together. On that day, Karen traditionally baked Diana her favorite pie.