Riding to Paradise aboard the Happy Love Spaceship.

This blog post recently appeared in Elephant Journal and is a revised version of a story you may have seen here in February. The good news: the bus driver has just been identified. His name is Sal and I hope to meet with him and write about it in the coming weeks.

I used to commute by bus from North Jersey into New York City, and every once in a while would ride with a bus driver who was very different from the rest.

Unlike any other driver on the line, he was always smiling and gave you a hearty and lyrical “Good morning!” when you boarded his bus. He was also one of the few drivers who ever spoke over the bus’s public address system, which he used in a rather unorthodox way.

“Welcome aboard the happy love spaceship. Sit back and enjoy the ride.” was one regular announcement he made.

On the coldest, grayest days of winter he would pronounce: “It’s a beautiful day in paradise!”

Then, upon our arrival into New York City, in the dark and dingy Port Authority bus terminal, he would make his final declaration as we departed the bus. It usually went something like this:

‘Welcome to the beautiful beaches of Maui where it is 72 degrees. Get your complimentary Margarita on the way out. And don’t forget to put on sunscreen. Be safe and have a great day!”

One day I changed routes and never saw the driver again. But 10 years later, I still remember him–and the lesson he taught me. Our state-of-mind has nothing to do with what’s happening around us. And everything to do with what’s happening inside.

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