In this case, chatting up a stranger was for a good cause

In Japan, public transportation isn’t usually the place to hold small talk or answer your phone. Granted you may get the occasional gaggle of teenagers shuffling onto the train or bus in mid-joke, but otherwise full-blown conversations can be rare, especially between strangers.

In a country where sticking out isn’t necessarily viewed in a positive light, it can be daunting to overstep any etiquette that has been socially conditioned into you since a young age. But for these two high school students in Nagasaki, breaking decorum led to an unexpected but happy ending.

▼ To break the silence or to not break the silence… sometimes that is the question.

On December 23, the teens were riding the bus home in the town of Shimabara when they noticed an elderly woman who seemed extremely perplexed and confused about her surroundings. While some strangers would think it wiser to ignore the woman, especially to avoid the unfortunate situation of being accidentally accused of ill intentions, the teens jumped to action.

They offered to disembark the bus with the elderly woman, and the high school students then escorted her to a local police box. Not only did she have dementia and was wandering around town for awhile, but her family had reported her as missing and asked officers to conduct a search for her.

▼ Especially in these times of social isolation, this is a very good reminder to keep in contact with your elderly loved ones!

Police officials have since lauded the high school students, commending their brave actions and even hosting a small ceremony where the Shimabara police chief presented a thank-you letter to the teens. Even though having a small conversation on the bus seems like a minor thing, in Japan it’s unusual to break the silence between strangers, but in this case it was thanks to the courage and initiative of these high school students that the elderly woman was able to quickly reunite with her family.

▼ Extra thumbs-ups and kudos!

At the end of the day, as we brace ourselves for the final stretch before a post-COVID-19 world, let’s be sure in the meantime to check in on the elderly members of our communities whether it’s at home, nearby, or senior centers-turned-casinos. After all, one conversation can save—or find—a life.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso (1, 2, 3)
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