It was late afternoon rush hour downtown. Bo and I had been out all day, with tired feet and gelato stained sleeves. We climbed onto a streetcar surrounded by throngs of Toronto dwellers at the end of their working day. Crammed into a crowded street car we started on the journey through the city. Bo pressed her face against the streetcar window and licked the window, laughing. The person behind us reached out gently and moved her face away, ‘don’t do that sweetheart,’ the young man said, ‘it’s so dirty…’ Bo responded with a grin and a cheesy greeting to her new best friend. Every time the street car stopped to let people on and off into the sea of suits and graffiti covered walls outside Bo yelled great greetings to the passengers. hello’s and bye-bye’s thrown around to a sea of faces who she had never seen but who she was so open to connect with. I watched as the people sitting near us rotated as some departed and new people boarded the car. Bo chatted and sang with and laughed and climbed on and kissed at least 20 different people on the 1.45 minute street car ride from one side of town to the other… people of all walks of life. People dressed in suits and others in fishnet stockings and piercings… People from all over the world. Toronto is home to one of the most diverse cross sections of cultures in the world, after all.
It amazes me, every day, how gentle and beautiful and kind most people are. Not just here in Canada, but every where in the world. I always new it, and trusted in the kindness of strangers… in the inherent good of the human being. But now that I travel with a child, it is even more obvious. There are so many good souls everywhere in the world. We are constantly struck by news of people who harm and maim and hurt. Of war and destruction. Of humans doing terrible things to each other, or to animals, or to the earth. We are taught to fear our neighbours and to avoid eye contact. We are taught to be afraid. But what is it we are so scared of? There are so, so many good people on this earth… and sometimes it takes the open heart and unbiased eyes of a toddler to remind you of that. Bo opens her arms and her heart to people and she reaches out and says hello and touches hands and smiles… and there hasn’t been a single soul who hasn’t responded with a smile.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain