Sitting in the back of a van that shuttles along the No. 3 bus route, taking on customers along the way, I had the wonderful privilege of observing a most remarkable scenario of goodwill among Jews.
Our driver, not even wearing a kipa, was obviously not religious. However, I recognized him from the past as being a very kind, decent person.
At one stop, two kollelniks boarded with their gemoras tucked under their arm and took a back seat.
The driver motioned to a third one to get in as well, but he flashed his monthly bus ticket and gestured that he had no cash, only a two hundred shekel bill, if the driver could change it.
"Get in," said the driver, and he did.
Everyone passed up their four shekels and the newest passenger handed his 200 shekel note. "Never mind," said the driver, handing it back. The young man tried again, but the driver said it was unnecessary. "It's O.K. You don't have to pay this time." Feeling uncomfortable with the free ride, the young man turned to a fellow passenger and borrowed the four shekel and handed it up, which the driver finally accepted, seeing how insistent the passenger was.
At another stop, he offered another free ride to a monthly- card-holder.
As one of the passengers got out, we heard something fall outside. The driver had already started the van, but stopped it and beeped. He rolled down the window and called out to the man, then waited patiently until the man returned to search. It turned out that he had dropped a key on the ground.
Obviously impressed, a passenger told the driver, "If there would be more good Jews like you, Moshiach would come." To which he replied, "With more like you, he'd come quicker!" He then turned around and encompassed all of his chareidi passengers with one look and added, "People like you are holding up the world."
His words brought tears to my eyes. May there be an increase of all good Jews!