UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

Spirit Story

On the bus, with God

By Sharon Elliott

I am looking forward to going home after the Christmas holidays as I board the Saskatchewan regional bus in Regina. I settle into a seat and pull out a book for my one-and-a-half hour trip to Weyburn.

But I’m distracted when a man comes aboard to say goodbye to one of the passengers near the front: a male teen wearing a hoodie and holding a plastic bag on his lap.

The man disembarks when it is time to leave and watches as the bus pulls away. Just then, the young passenger moves to the door of the bus, wanting off. The man comes back on and takes the boy to his seat. We try to leave again. The boy is up at the door, and the man is outside waving him to sit down. He comes aboard — again. This time, he does not hide his anger. Everyone on the bus is fully attentive to the situation now, silently witnessing distress. 

We pull onto the street, but within half a block the boy is at the door begging to be let off. “Open the door,” he repeats. He finds the lever that opens the door, and the driver struggles to restrain him from pushing it. The driver repeatedly encourages him to return to his seat. The boy is frantic now, desperate to get off the bus. In my mind, I silently page someone to the front of the bus to help resolve the situation. But who? 

Listen to more of Sharon Elliott's story here.

My husband and I facilitated an adult study group at our church, Grace United in Weyburn, using a study guide that asked the question, “Who is God?” We changed it to, “When is God?” and the room instantly filled with personal stories describing times of being moved from complacency to compassion to action. So, when is God? God is when you move from your comfortable seat on the bus to assist someone in need.

Before I know it, I am kneeling by the stairs where the young man is urging the driver to let him off. I try to take his arm, but he is rigid and resistant. Somehow, I gently coax him back to his seat. He finally complies. I crouch in the aisle and ask him questions about his Christmas. He received new clothes, went tobogganing. I get him to move by the window so I can sit with him. Favourite colour, blue. Likes school.

As we head out of Regina, he continues to tell the driver to turn the bus around, but we are committed to the highway now. He looks back at the city as we descend into the darkness of southeast Saskatchewan. When we arrive in Weyburn, I say goodbye and tell him he’ll be okay. I arrange for another passenger to see him through to his destination.

I later learn he lives with autism. I learn how difficult it is when a routine has been established, as it had been during his two-week break, then comes to an end. I am reminded of times on my journey when I resisted change. When I wanted to turn around and go back. Times when I needed the compassion and coaching of a stranger to help me move forward.

When is God? God is now. Gently paging us to the front of the bus to help someone in need.      

Sharon Elliott is a licensed lay worship leader in Weyburn, Sask. Listen to her story here.

Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
Promotional Image


David Wilson%


by David Wilson

If statues could talk

Promotional Image


ObserverDocs: Stolen Mother

by Observer Staff

The daughter and adoptive mother of one of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women share their story

Promotional Image


July 2017

From far and wide

by Various Writers

Meet 11 immigrants who are putting down new roots


June 2017

A suitcase for Cuba

by Christopher Levan

You’ll find more than giveaway toiletries and hand-me-downs in the writer's luggage. Each carefully chosen gift offers a glimpse into the lives of Cubans today.


June 2017


by Kristy Woudstra

Up to half a million people are living in Canada without official status. The ‘sanctuary city’ movement is growing, but the fear of deportation persists.


June 2017

Resisting genocide

by Sally Armstrong

In August 2014, ISIS attacked Iraq’s Yazidis, slaughtering thousands and forcing women and girls into sexual slavery. Today, the survivors are fighting for their ancient way of life.


April 2017

Dear Grandkids

by Various Writers

Six acclaimed Canadian authors write letters from the heart


March 2017

Called to resist

by Paul Wilson

Liberal Christians in the United States test their faith against a demagogue

Promotional Image