A bus driver kicks a boy out into the cold for not having money for the fare. She encounters him again on her way home and decides to help after learning the boy doesn’t remember anything about his past.
Nancy, a 35-year-old bus driver, was on her last shift of the day. Her gloved hands gripped the steering wheel tightly as she navigated her bus through the snow-covered roads on Christmas Eve, picking up and dropping off passengers across the city.
When Nancy looked at the rearview mirror to vaguely check how many passengers were left to disembark, she noticed just a handful onboard. And among them was a boy, likely eight years old, sitting all alone in the same spot he’d taken almost three hours ago when Nancy started the trip.
What puzzled Nancy was that this boy had been on the bus for a really long time and never got down at any of the stations. The bus was heading back to the depot, so Nancy stopped the bus at the next station and turned around to find out what was wrong…
“Hey, there…Where are you getting down?”
Startled, the boy turned around and looked at the other passengers, assuming Nancy was talking to one of them.
“You there, the boy in the blue hoodie…yeah, you…where are you getting down?” Nancy once again pointed at him, loud and clear. “Did you get your ticket? The bus is heading to the depot, and I see you’re still on board. Show me your ticket.”
The boy looked up at Nancy with wide, frightened eyes. “I…I didn’t get it,” he answered.
“And you stayed quiet all this while? Get the ticket now, will you?”
“I…I don’t have money,” the boy replied, his voice barely audible over the rumble of the engine.
Nancy’s face turned cold, and she scowled at him as the other passengers watched in dismay.
“Then you can’t ride my bus, honey. Please get out…now.”
With a rough motion, Nancy pulled the lever to open the door and gestured for the boy to leave.
The frosty air rushed in as the boy stepped down without saying anything. He pulled his jacket tighter and began to trudge through the snow. Nancy watched his silhouette fade on the side mirror as she pulled away, disappearing into the distance.
An hour later, Nancy was heading home on the same route in her car. Just as she was about drive past a station, she noticed the same boy huddled against a wall in the swirling snow, his face pale and his teeth chattering.
Nancy recognized him as the boy she’d kicked out of the bus and immediately pulled over. She rolled down the car window, and a rush of cold air hit her in the face, causing her to shiver and chatter her teeth as she waved at the boy.
“Hey, there…What are you doing all alone here?”
“I don’t know,” answered the boy. “I cannot remember anything
“You don’t remember anything? What do you mean?”
“I…I don’t know. When I woke up today afternoon, I was at the bus station. It was freezing. I was hungry and wanted to warm up. So I got on the bus.”
“Hey, listen, kid. You can’t be roaming alone like this, okay? What’s your name? And where are your parents?”
“I told you I don’t know anything…I don’t remember my name and where I came from,” said the boy, and Nancy freaked out at his very words.
“Look here, kid, just a moment. Don’t worry, okay? Just hop in…We can settle this at the police station. And I hope you’re not fooling around with me.”
Nancy knew she couldn’t leave this boy alone out there in the cold and drove with him to the local police station.
“Any leads, Sheriff?” Nancy sat in the police station, watching the officers sift through missing persons’ reports of days and months past.
An hour passed, and still, there were no updates about the boy’s identity. Then, the inspector came out with a file, looking disappointed.
“We’ve informed all the stations nearby, Miss Nancy. We can’t find any missing report with information about this boy,” said the inspector.
“Something should turn up very soon, and we’ll give you a call just in case…But we can’t have him at the station until then. It’s getting late. Why don’t you take him to the hospital? We still need to know why he can’t remember anything.”
“Alright, Sheriff. I’ll do that….” Nancy sighed as she left the station with the boy.
Later at the hospital, Nancy watched as the doctor studied the boy’s MRI scan results.
“What is it, doctor? He told me that he doesn’t even know his name. I don’t know how I’m going to help him,” worried Nancy.
“The boy is healthy otherwise…there are no signs of injury as such,” revealed the doctor.
“But there’s a small problem. It looks like he has post-traumatic stress disorder. I mean…something has caused a lot of emotional stress and psychological shock. His memory loss is most likely a defense mechanism due to that shock, Miss Nancy. I cannot proceed without further tests.”
“Is there anything we can do to help him, doctor? I mean…I don’t know this boy, and I don’t know where to leave him. I wonder how long it’s gonna take until he regains his memory.”
When they arrived at Nancy’s house, the boy couldn’t help but smile at seeing a small bicycle on the patio. And as he entered inside, he was greeted by several photos of smiling faces of Nancy with two men, one middle-aged and the other older, and a little boy on the walls.
There was an armchair, toys scattered around, a set of golf clubs in one corner, and even an unfinished painting. Everything appeared as though a big family was living in that house. But it seemed unusually empty and silent.
“Your house is really nice,” he whispered as Nancy tossed the car keys on the table and hurried to the kitchen.
“But where is everybody? I mean…the people in these photos. And this little boy. I don’t see them around…Where are they?”
“They all….” Nancy hesitated and paused chopping the celery. “They all died in a car crash a long time ago. It’s just me here now. All alone…like a ghost!”
“I…I’m sorry,” the boy said, placing a comforting hand on Nancy’s shoulder.
“It’s okay, honey. You know, it’s been really tough to survive Christmas all alone every year…so I think your company will be good enough for me this time,” Nancy chuckled. “I’m making steak roast and mashed potatoes for dinner. I hope you’ll like it!”
As they sat down for dinner, the boy looked out through the window of Nancy’s apartment and noticed everyone outside was in a cheerful mood.
The streets were decorated in vibrant shades of red and green. Children were making sculptures of snowmen, and every house, as far as his eyes could see, had a festive joy, except for Nancy’s
As he munched on the steak and chatted, Nancy suddenly announced she had a Christmas gift for him.
“A gift?” he gasped.
“Yeah! It was for my son…Jeremy. But I never got the chance to give it to him. I hope you like it.”
A hush fell over the dining room when Nancy gave the boy a beautifully wrapped gold and red gift box. His eyes widened with excitement as he tore off the wrapper. But as he opened the box and peeked inside, his expression changed from joy to disappointment.
“I think I’ve seen this somewhere. Oh, yeah… I already have this one with the same design and everything. Even the engravings on it are so similar,” the boy said as he took out a handcrafted wooden yacht.
Nancy stopped eating and looked up at him, raising an eyebrow.
“And you said you don’t remember anything?” she asked, her tone laced with suspicion.
“I don’t remember exactly…but I’m sure I have this same yacht. I remember playing with a similar one, but I’m not able to recall where and who gave it to me.”
“Are you sure? Coz you seem not too excited about it
“Yeah…I mean…yeah, it’s cool. I love it…From where did you get this?”
“I ordered it from a craftsman in Boston,” said Nancy as she sliced a piece of steak with the fork.
“We were at a fair there…My husband, dad, Jeremy, and me. We had a wonderful time. And…and my son just fell in love with this yacht. I wanted to surprise him for Christmas. But the thing is, you can’t get it anywhere else. It’s a handmade piece…a very rare one…and you only get it in that shop.”
“So you mean that this yacht is one-of-a-kind?”
“Exactly!” Nancy nodded. “So if you already have one with similar engravings and design, it must be from the same craftsman in Boston. We need to meet him and find out if he recognizes you. Maybe he knows something about you and your family
After dinner, Nancy led the boy to her room. Since the guestroom was messy, she let the boy sleep in her bedroom for the night while taking the couch in the living room for herself.
The boy couldn’t sleep well as he had a runny nose. He walked out of the room to ask Nancy for a towel but tiptoed back when he saw her fast asleep. He didn’t want to disturb her, so he decided to find a towel or napkin on his own and began checking the wardrobe in Nancy’s bedroom.
When the boy opened one of the drawers and pulled out a towel, a crumpled paper folded in several layers fell out. Curiosity got the better of him, and he picked it up to see what it was. And as he unfolded the note, it read:
“Nobody is to blame for my death. I miss my son & my family. I’m just tired of life. This loneliness is killing me & I feel like I can’t take it anymore….”
“That’s nonsense… She is alive but has written as if she already died or something,” he grumbled and put the note back.
And just as he turned around to go to bed, Nancy appeared in the doorway.
“What are you doing? Aren’t you supposed to be asleep?”
“I…I couldn’t sleep. I was feeling thirsty and a bit sick…was looking for a towel.”
“Alright! Get back to sleep. We have to leave early for Boston tomorrow
As they drove to Boston the next day, the boy couldn’t help but feel unsettled about the note. It had been weighing on his mind all night, and he was not in a spot to ask Nancy for answers.
“You know…driving a bus is kind of a male profession,” he said, breaking the silence. “And you drive really…really well. I mean, I don’t remember taking a bus driven by a lady driver. But you’re so amazing. How long have you been driving a bus?”
“Oh, yeah? Thanks! I was an accountant earlier. Finances. Bank statements. Auditing. Nobody could beat my calculations! But that’s an old story. I decided to change my job. I wanted to explore places. Meet new people. You know…the roads …these sceneries, the silence around…they calm me down.”
“So you like being around people all the time?”
Nancy chuckled. “Kind of. Yeah! ‘Tis just a distraction, you know…Being around people makes me feel I still exist!”
They chatted all the way and soon arrived at their destination. And as they pulled into the parking lot of the craftsman’s workshop, the boy was swept over by a sense of nostalgia. Nancy watched his every move as they stepped into the shop selling handmade arts and crafts..
“Hey, there!” the artisan greeted Nancy, having recognized her almost immediately. “What brings you to Boston? Where’s your….”
“PETE??” the craftsman suddenly gasped the moment he saw the boy with Nancy, and his face grew ashen.
“What’s wrong? Mr. Whitby, do you know this boy?”
“Oh my God…Pete? Where have you been? Cops have been looking for you since this morning.”
“Do you know me? Please tell me everything you know about me if you’ve seen me here before. I can’t remember anything about my family. My parents. My name…I’m going crazy. Please help me….”
The craftsman sighed a deep breath, unable to fathom the shock, and began to recount the fateful tragedy that shook that part of the town two nights ago
As it turned out, some robbers had broken into Pete’s house to loot the money and jewels two nights ago. But the problem began when Pete’s dad suddenly woke up to some noise and caught them stealing money from his safe.
When Pete’s father saw the robbers, he started to scream and alert everyone. The landline connection and electricity supply to the Larson villa were cut, making the robbery pre-planned.
When Pete’s dad ran upstairs to fetch his cell phone and call the cops, one of the robbers struck his head with a hard blow, and he fell unconscious and died on the spot. Later, they barged into the bedroom and killed Pete’s mother.
They then began looking for Pete everywhere in the house that night to kill him. They saw him scream and run after witnessing his parents’ murders and were afraid of leaving any eyewitnesses behind. Later, one of the robbers found the boy hiding under the bed in his room and grabbed him.
The next morning, Pete’s neighbors found his dead dog in his yard and were shocked. They kept calling his parents, but when nobody answered, they suspected something was wrong and called the cops.
The officers then broke into Pete’s house and found his parents’ corpses. They followed the lead, and the robbers were eventually arrested when they tried to flee to another state.
Later, the robber who had found Pete testified about hiding him in a big trunk box that night. Once the gang left Pete’s house with the loot, he had driven the boy to the city nearby and left him at a bus station while he was unconscious. However, the robber’s intentions of saving the boy remained a mystery.
When Nancy and Pete arrived at his house later that day, he was disturbed.
“Everything feels so incredible…I know I’ve been here before…I can feel it. But I’m not able to remember anything,” the boy said as he looked around at the photos of his parents and him.
The toys, Christmas décor, and even the superhero posters on his bedroom walls gave a glimpse into the beautiful life Pete lived with his parents not too long ago. Yet, he was not able to recall anything completely and broke down.
“It’s okay, honey. Let’s go home. You’ll be alright… We’ll come back very soon, I promise,” Nancy comforted Pete and hugged him.
As they drove back to the city, they were greeted by the festive spirit of Christmas. There were twinkling lights, wreaths, children hurling snow at each other, and laughter everywhere they looked.
The streets were bustling with people carrying shopping bags and gifts, and Nancy noticed the grave sadness on Pete’s face.
A strange feeling crawled up her heart when she looked into his eyes, and she decided to take him in forever. Nancy adopted Pete eventually and put him in therapy to overcome his stress and heal.
One night, during dinner, she chuckled, “You know…I’m afraid to imagine what my life would’ve been like if I hadn’t stopped after seeing you at the bus station that day.”
Pete hugged her tightly and, planting a kiss on her cheek, he said, “Ha ha ha! It’s been a year since we met…and it still feels like yesterday. Merry Christmas, mom. I love you…more than you know.”.