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You Made a Difference

Story ID:7276
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Sambro Nova Scotia Canada
Year:1974
Person:Stan
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The phone rang. Stan Greenwood stared at it irritably. The hockey game was
about to begin. It was the first time in twenty years his beloved Boston Bruins made it
to the NHL Stanley Cup finals. Who would dare call him at a time like this? This could
be the year the Bruins won the cup in almost forty years.

Stan looked at the caller ID. The number was unfamiliar and long distance. He
looked at the television. The game was going to start. It was probably a telemarketer,
but on impulse, he picked the phone up. “Hello?”

“Stan? Stan Greenwood?” The voice on the other end asked.

“Yes?”

“Stan who used to drive a school bus?”

“Yes.” Stan was confused. The voice was unfamiliar. “Yes, I did drive a school
bus.”

“Stan, you might not remember me. It’s been a long time since we last talked.
My name is Mike Smith. I used to sit behind you on the bus and talk your ear off. That
was probably thirty-five years ago.”

Stan scratched his head, hoping to pull a memory stored somewhere in his mind.
“I think I remember you …”

“I was a Boston fan too, Stan. We were the only ones who cheered for the Bruins.
Together, you and I rooted for them.”

“Oh gosh! I remember you now.”

Stan did remember Mike. He was the meek kid who hid from the rougher boys
and never caused trouble on his bus. Stan recalled their conversations on the bus,
especially during hockey season, which, in Canada, ran through most of the school year.
Mike was the only kid who cheered for his team. The two of them talked endlessly about
the Bruins, Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Wayne Cashman and the other great Boston players
from the winning days.

“Yes! I do remember you.” Stan continued. “You called me after all these years?”

“Of course!” I smiled into the phone. “We were the only ones. We were the only
two Bruin fans, Stan.”

“How did you find me?”

“I looked you up on the internet.”

“Where are you at now? The number looks like long distance.”

“I’m in Idaho?

“Idaho?”

“It’s a long story, Stan. I moved from Nova Scotia to New Brunswick, then to
Ohio and New Jersey. I moved to Idaho in 2008.

“Why?”

“My stepdaughter daughter lives here. My wife wanted to be close to her and
her grandchildren.”

“No! I meant, why did you call me?”

“Stan, you are one of the few Bruin fans I know. My dad was a big fan of them,
but he’s gone now. I wanted to share my joy with someone who understands, and besides,
Stan, when I was a kid, you made a difference in my life. I was always a bit of an outcast.
You listened to me, Stan. You made a difference. It meant a lot to me.”

There was a pause as Stan took this in. He finally said, “I still can’t believe you
looked me up after all this time.”

I grinned. This was special. “Stan, it’s great to talk to you again. The game is
about to start. Let’s hope they win.”

“I know. The game starts in ten minutes.”

“Stan, when the series is over, I’ll call again. We can catch up on old times.”

“That would be great, Mike.”

Stan hung up the phone, sat in his chair and cheered for his Bruins. He watched
them lose one to nothing, but he didn’t care so much. A kid from the past told him he
once made a difference. “I was just a bus driver.” Stan thought. “Who would have
thought a bus driver could do that?”

Stan slept well that night. His bus driving years were well behind him. The years
of carrying kids to school were gone, but not completely. One kid still thought about him
and said, “You made a difference.”

Michael T. Smith