I was an eight year old girl living in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka. Coming home from school I always took the bus, and it was packed. The school used a nine seater bus packed with 20 people. It was hot, sweaty, and uncomfortable. One day, I had had enough so I decided that I was going to walk home.
It was 45 degrees out, and my sister was telling me I should just stick to the bus. Maybe wait for a day when it was cooler to walk home.
“It’s just a fifteen minute drive! How long could that take on foot?” I asked her as we were walking down the school hall.
“I don’t know, but definitely longer than 15 minutes. Are you sure you’ve memorised the route?” she questioned.
“Yes I’m sure… Look. It will be fine. But in case I do get lost, tell mom and dad that I decided to walk home.”
“Okay. Good luck and be safe.”
I stepped out of my school, took a long look at the buses lined up packed with kids, took a deep breath, and started walking.
I headed through the park outside my school, but when I reached the other side, I realised I didn’t know where to go. Left, or right? “Um… Usually the bus goes right when it reaches the end of the park, then two lefts. So maybe I could just go left and take a shortcut?” I whispered to myself, “Yeah. Why not?” And I headed left.
After just 10 minutes, I was really getting sweaty. “Maybe I shouldn’t have done this on my own…” I thought, “Wait a minute… where am I? The bus doesn’t drive here! Oh no, I should have been paying more attention to the road, not the heat!” I was utterly confused now, so I decided to back track. I expected I would see the park, but instead I got to a dead end. “Now where am I?!”
After hours of wandering, I was completely exhausted. I didn’t know where I was, even though I had asked at least six people where I should be heading. I was on a main street, but I wasn’t sure if I was going the right or wrong way. Tears filled my eyes, and I tried my best not to cry.
A man on a bike was driving by, and when he saw me he stopped. He had dark hair, brown eyes, and was wearing a green T-shirt with brown shorts.
“What are you doing out in the streets on your own little girl?” He asked me.
“I’m lost and scared and I want to get home!” I cried.
“Here, get on my bike. Where do you live? I’ll take you home.”
I couldn’t believe my ears! I was going to get home! Without thinking, I quickly told him where I lived and hopped onto his bike.
“Hold on,” he told me. Finally, I didn’t have to walk anymore.
“What’s your name?” he asked me.
“Sabina,” I replied.
“That’s a nice name! I’m R--”
A car swerved by, barely missing us! It was trying to overtake a lorry and wasn’t paying any attention!
“Crazy driver!” I giggled.
Finally, he pulled into my street.
“Yay, thank you very much sir!”
“No problem. Now you be careful next time Sabina!”
I walked into my home and my mom came rushing to me, “Where have you been!?” Before I could answer, she engulfed me in a hug. Then, my dad pulled into the driveway.
“We’ve been looking all over for you! Where have you been? Are you okay?” my dad asked.
Hastily, I told them what happened. “You should be more careful next time, Sabina. You never know what that man could have done. Never walk home alone again, okay?” my dad explained. I never did. I wish I had known who that man was. He was really nice, and now I realise I don’t even know his name. I guess I should never try to take the easy way out.