Eventually, one the bus reached Kensington, he asked me if I was a bookworm. For politeness’s sake I replied, “A little bit.”
“That’s good. Books are important. I wish my daughter was a bookworm.”
“How old is your daughter?”
The man started telling me about his daughter. She is 20yo and had consistently dropped out of school during her youth until she was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. He told me how she had a boyfriend who was a douche and how she would disappear for months at a time and this worried her family. I was told how he, her father, was the only one who supported her after her mother kicked her out of home and the rest of the family ignored her because she was too hard.
Finally, my stop came and I got off. I had barely sad two sentences to this man but in exchange I had been told a whole story simply because I had listened.
The moral of this story is that simply listening to a stranger is you giving them a gift of your time.
And sometimes, they give you a story.