Bringing light: Stand up and be counted

At Chanukah we are told to place our Chanukiyot in a window so that the world will see the light and know about the miracle of Chanukah.
I was reminded of this sense of witnessing yesterday morning on the bus to work. The top deck was full and people were standing downstairs, including a woman standing on the stairs waiting for the next seat to become available upstairs (clever thinking!)
A man got on board and asked to get past her and go upstairs. She politely explained that there were no seats upstairs and he started laying into her 'What f#+*ing business is it of yours? Why are you interfering? If I go upstairs there'll be a f*+#ing seat.' He then commanded her to go upstairs and look again. She did and as she went up a guy emerged to go downstairs. So she called down 'Now there is a seat because someone is getting off'. The chaps response was to shout back abusive names at her. All seemed rather unnecessary, and in true big city style, most of us tried to convey our shock to each other without getting involved. All but one woman, who turned to him and said 'That's just not necessary. Don't call her that. It's completely out of line'. So she became the next victim, called the same names before the guy stormed upstairs, where I could just see him standing, waiting to find a seat. This second woman went to the bus driver to report the abuse, and he suggested she speak to the Community Support Officer who was getting on the bus, which she did, and I tried to add what I could.
By this stage the police officer couldn't find the abuser as he'd sat down, however she assured us she was staying on till Victoria and would look out for more trouble.
I turned to the second victim and said 'Good for you for saying something'. We then had a chat about how rude people have become on public transport and how she had had a similar experience on the tube recently (albeit because she was carrying a large back pack).
Bringing light isn't just  a metaphor for the lovely glowing chanukiyah. We can bring light in so many ways in our day to day lives. Challenging this kind of public nastiness is difficult; it doesn't come naturally to all to get involved. But if we don't try and stand up for what is right when we need to, we allow darkness to creep into the smallest areas of our lives, and permeate from there outwards.


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