Easter Sunday was a day of joy and celebration until I received a phone call from the east coast. My truck-driver son was calling from a bus station, perhaps in Indiana or Michigan or Massachusetts. He didn’t know. He sounded dazed, disoriented and confused, unsure of where he was or how he got there. He mentioned having a severe pain in his head. He wanted to come home. Then he hung up. My caller-ID placed the call from Erie, Pennsylvania, and I quickly redialed the number. It was a payphone at the Greyhound Bus Terminal. I raced to our local bus station and tried to purchase a ticket home for him. I had only enough cash to get him to his sister’s home in Missouri.
I called his sister and told her about the mysterious phone call I had just received. It sounded as if my son had experienced some sort of head injury and I feared for his safety.
My daughter immediately called the Erie bus terminal and spoke to a man named Dave Hughes, a ticket agent for Greyhound. He said yes, a young man fitting my son’s description was there and told my daughter not to worry, that he would do everything he could to help him. Dave Hughes turned out to be an Easter miracle for our family.
My son had arrived with his belongings in disarray and Dave helped him pack it all in boxes, suitable for transport. Dave also spent time talking to my son, trying to find out what had happened, trying to keep him centered and calm until the arrival of the Missouri-bound bus.
Three hours later, Dave helped my son load all of his belongings, then spoke to the bus driver about the situation. The bus driver was the second miracle in this chain of events. He monitored my son’s transfer to a second bus in eastern Ohio, where he spoke to the next bus driver who monitored my son’s transfer to a third bus in
western Ohio. Each driver made sure that all of my son’s belongings were transferred with him.
My son arrived safely in St. Louis yesterday afternoon. He is currently receiving medical care but it is too early to tell what caused his disorientation. The tests will take time. Throughout this ordeal, David in Erie, Pennsylvania, kept in touch with my daughter in Missouri. His compassion and kindness touched the hearts of my family all across the country. The three drivers completed this series of miracles that forever changed our lives.
I cannot afford the trip to Missouri to be with my son during this ordeal, but I want the Greyhound Corporation to know that these men went far beyond the company’s call for courtesy and professionalism. I believe in my heart that they were responsible for saving my son’s life and for that they will always be in my heart and in my prayers.
Bobby Jean Simkins
United States Navy Veteran
Incident occurred in Spring 2000. I immediately posted it on Heartwarmers and received thousands–THOUSANDS of emails, most of which offered money to travel and help my son. I did not accept any money (I’m stubborn like that) but responded to every email with my heartfelt thanks and prayers. I still have those emails, too.
Aren’t people amazing? I’m still touched by their kindness.
Update on my son: My son’s disorientation was caused by the onset of schizophrenia. He fought his way out of it and has been troubled only once in the past six years by the disorder’s signature symptom, voices. In 2002, I moved my entire family from California to Missouri, where I own a home deep in the Missouri woodlands. The stress-free environment and idyllic surroundings have contributed to my son’s healing.
It brings to mind a lovely quote by Anne Frank:
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.”