I was about 20 when this happened. In the early-70s in Cleveland, not long after the civil rights riots had burned the Hough area, I wanted to go to the ballet. Without a car, I got a lift to the theater, which was in the Hough area. My friends advised me not to go unless I had a ride both ways, but I felt perfectly comfortable going to a Sunday matinee and taking the bus home. I took the bus to work everyday. After the show, I walked a few blocks to the bus stop. As I approached a black man began to rant at me, telling me that I had no right to be there because I was white. He was angry and threatening. I was beginning to become afraid, when I saw the bus coming to save me. It stopped, the doors opened and I got on. I dropped my money in the coin box and turned. The bus was full, and everyone was black. They looked, I guess, surprised. I felt consipicuous, but no longer afraid because I could see the same expression on their faces as those of my friends who had advised me to get a lift both ways. I recall that a man got up and offered me a seat. I felt like a belonged again. Empathy is a powerfully good emotion.
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