Gave Away Her Last $40 … On a Bus Headed To LA by Karletta Marie | Inspiring Story #20

touching story of human kindness - she gave away her last $40 - by Karletta Marie, Karletta Dionysiou

A touching story of human kindness. On a bus from Phoenix to LA, a woman hands over her last forty dollars. But that wasn't the end of her story...   

We sat on the bus waiting while other passengers piled on.  A blond-haired woman, about nineteen years old, took the seat in front of us.  The bus driver followed behind her.  He demanded her fare.

“You pay $40 or get off the bus!” the driver said.

“I paid already.  Yesterday, online,” the girl insisted.

“No, no record of it!” the bus driver pointed to the paper in his hand and waved it in her face.   “See.  No pay!  You pay, or you must get off.”  He angrily pointed to the exit door.

“But I don’t have money.  And I paid already.  Please”. 

The bus driver picked up his mobile phone and made a call to find out if there had been an error with the paperwork.  He cut the call.  

“No, you have not paid. You must pay.”

“But please, I don’t have any money on me.  I must get to LA today.  Please.” 

Tears streamed down her face. 

John and I had boarded a bus headed to Los Angeles.  I was very excited about experiencing LA. My dream of visiting Disney Land was about to come true.  But while I sat there comfortably in my seat, thinking about my next adventure, this young woman was in tears, with a man standing over her, demanding money. 

I wasn’t sure what I should do?  Was she telling the truth?  It wouldn’t be the first time someone had extracted money by telling a sad story that turned out untrue.   Did she really not have any money?  Maybe the bus driver would show some compassion and allow her to sort the payment out later?

But no, the bus driver continued to demand she pay $40 or get off the bus.  The young woman insisted that she didn’t have enough money for the fare and had no one she could contact for help.  It seemed the driver would throw her off the bus.   

Next thing, a woman with straggly grey hair and a weathered face walked up from the back of the bus.  She wore a ragged blue and white checked flannel shirt with faded brown trousers.  Her shoes were worn.  She stepped forward and stood directly in front of the driver.  She had one hand in her pocket, and in the other hand, she held out forty dollars.

“This is for her,” the straggly grey-haired woman said, pointing to the crying girl stranger.

The bus driver looked surprised, nodded, and took the money.  The young girl stopped crying, and within three minutes, we were on our way from Phoenix to LA. 

I was touched by the woman’s gesture.  Though she looked in need herself, she didn’t ask questions, and she didn’t doubt the girl as I had.  She had just stepped in to offer human kindness.  There was no judgement – just love and an offering to help. 

But that wasn’t the end of her story...

bus trip to LA

View from our bus headed to Los Angeles

“Oh my God. Did you know that was my last forty dollars! And now, I don’t know what to do."

At the next pit stop, I approached the grey-headed lady who had handed the forty dollars over to the driver.  “That was a really lovely thing you did for that girl on the bus.  You didn’t have to do that.  Here, we want to pitch in towards what you paid.” 

When I gave her the note, she got tears in her eyes, “Oh my God.  Did you know that was my last forty dollars!  And now, I don’t know what to do.  You aren’t the first people to offer to pitch in.  A couple of others have also given me money.  I now have $70 in my pocket!  What if I get more?  God has been good to me today.”


That day, I  learned another lesson from my travels.  I saw so much beauty in our world.  I realised I get to experience this almost every day - not just in my scenic surroundings - but through the simple acts of human kindness I get to witness.  I see a stranger help a stranger, one person not knowing another, willing to offer a hand for nothing in return. No judgement, no expectation - they give a kind word, or some money, or a ride, some advice, or a simple offer to help carry a bag.

Does this happen all the time?  Was I blind before?  Have I watched too many bad news media stories?  Have I listened too closely to others telling me how I should perceive the world around me?  Whatever it is ... I am so grateful to have my eyes opened to the beauty and kindness that is out there for all to give and receive and enjoy.  

Disney Land - Light Show, Spinning Cups and Merry-Go Rounds

We made it to Disney Land - Light shows, spinning cups and merry-go-rounds. My childhood dream comes true. 🌸

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  • Okay, I now believe in humanity once again. Nothing like a touching story to restore your faith in people.

  • Jennie says:

    What a beautiful story! And good things to think about! “Does this happen all the time? Was I blind before? Have I watched too many bad news media stories?” We can become so jaded by the world around us sometimes that we forget to open our eyes and extend kindness.

  • Sonja Hoff says:

    Such a touching story! I’ve seen so many of these stories shared lately and people always call into question whether or not it’s a scam. One post a man had said something along the lines of “if he’s lying to get money then that says something about his character, but if I decline helping a man in need when I have the means to, it says something about my character.” All of this is shared around the idea to “do good recklessly.” LOVE IT!

  • Viano Dee says:

    Very inspiring story. Though there are people who lie and take advantage of others, I try to lend a helping hand when I can because I’ve been in dire need before and I understand suffering. It doesn’t matter if they’re pretending or not— I cannot know for sure but I always think: “what if they are in need?” I give believing that I have met a great need— that I have put a smile on someone’s face.

    • kdadmin says:

      Thank you for sharing your experience and beliefs … it’s people like you that make the world a better place.

  • Heena says:

    This is so heart touching story. There are times when such incidents happens and we realize there is still humanity left and there are good human being who help others. God bless you and the lady.

  • […] we feel. It’s hard not to feel a little excited. Our new willingness to keep an open mind and help a stranger has provided us with one of the best moments of our […]

  • […] Humanity is full of compassion and ready to help where there is a need […]

  • Katie says:

    This is a beautiful story – it reminds me of the kindness I’ve seen whilst travelling and also at home and also reminds me that when I’m better off I should help people. Karma will get your back!

  • Sally says:

    It is great to see acts of kindness. I think they do happen regularly however the media only promotes bad things. It helps to keep people “in order” if they do not trust others and are not willing to help them. We need to share these good stories more.

    • kdadmin says:

      Sally that is so true about there being a lack of positive stories in main-stream media. I just wrote about this on my personal FB feed yesterday. The thing is … I know these good stories happen all the time – we need to tell them. If you have one to share – we’d love to hear from you!

  • Sara Essop says:

    This is such a heart-warming story. I wish that there were more such people in the world. It is true that you get back more than what you give.

  • Nafisa Habib says:

    Very inspiring story! So nice to read and know we really need to keep faith still on a human. God blessed to you both.

  • An interesting story and thanks for sharing with us. It always makes you feel good helping people and such experience also enrich our lives. Let’s help more people on the road. @ knycx.journeying

  • What a wonderful and inspiring story! We need more stories like this these days 🙂 I suspect there are many more stories of good samaritans all around us, but since they’re not looking for attention, we pass right by them.

    • kdadmin says:

      So true Susan … and I also see that our mainstream media is filled with stories of the rich, famous or criminal. The good samaritans hardly get a voice. Time for a change!

  • dani says:

    Beautiful. Experiences like this make our soul rich. Bless you and the lady.

  • Kate Findley says:

    Wow, that is an inspiring story! I take the bus a lot, and occasionally other riders will ask people to help them out because they’ve come up short for their fare. I always pitch in because like you said, I don’t know their story and I want to help out when I can. But your story represents the ultimate sacrifice because $40 is a lot of money, and the woman who gave it clearly didn’t have much herself!

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    Hi, I'm karletta marie.

    JOIN and get your free digital magazine with inspiring stories straight to your inbox PLUS tools to start creating your beautiful life.