The disturbed man at Melbourne Central

By Alister Fuller

As a bus driver some stories are more profound than others. Some stories, when the passenger gets off my bus I have to literally stop the bus take a deep breath and just go through what has just taken place. Hair raising I should say. One such story comes to mind.

I was pulling up at Melbourne central which is the main bus stop in Melbourne. As I approached the bus stop there was a guy in his early 40s standing on the road and facing in my Direction and just shouting on the top of his voice directed at someone or something. Using foul language and having a go at someone. So I tried to see what he was doing or who we was talking to and it turns out he was talking to nobody in particular so I knew there was something mentally wrong with his guy. Anyway as I pulled up at the bus stop he happened to get into my bus. That's when I thought oh no this is not going to be good so I have to watch the situation very carefully. He sat somewhere in the middle of the bus where I could see him in my rearview mirror.

He got on the phone and he was talking to someone. I was paying close attention to the conversation and his conversation went something like this. He was asking somebody for help and he said something bad is going to happen that day. He was well dressed and sounded pretty intelligent except that he said he had demons messing with his head and that he needs help. The person on the other end was not offering any help as such and this guy was saying things like I would love to come and see you in the next 30 minutes if you can give me the time. Of course the other person was not willing to give him the time so he disconnected the phone and he tried somebody else and the conversation went some what similar to the previous one. He kept rubbing his face and hair which I know is a sign of stress. It looked like he needed help and he needed to talk to someone like a priest or pastor. That person on the other end said things like - why don’t you go to the police and his remark was if I go to the police they’re going to lock me up and throw away the key. So this conversation was not good for him he was in a pretty negative frame of mind.

I was wondering what can I do to help this guy or how can I give him some kind of hope that there are people around who can help him. That's when I thought of a church or a community in Dandenong North which I don't go to myself but I heard that they do good work in this kind of area.

So I signalled to the guy to come forward to let him know this information. He came to me and I told him to look for this church that helps people like him and that I’ve been listening to his conversations and I felt that he needed help so to please Google this particular church and give them a call and see if they can help in any way. He said thank you and he went Googled it found it and he asked me if this is the particular church and I said yes and he rang them. The pastor on the other end of the phone was very welcoming and asked him questions like do you believe in Jesus and he said yes I do believe in Jesus I’m not a practicing Christian but I’m a Christian and he told him that he needs help and the pastor was very considerate and understanding. He was making some progress. He seemed to be getting somewhere. I felt relieved. His stop had arrived and he was about to get off the bus so he told the pastor to hang on a minute that he wanted to thank the driver for giving him his details. So he came to me and said thanks for the help. I then looked at my bag and I had a box of chocolates which a passenger had given to me the precious day. I handed it to him and said “here this would help cheer you up”. He said thanks. I wrote my number on a piece of paper and told him that if he needed help or just wanted to talk to someone to please call me. He then got off the bus. I did not see him again or get a call from him. Wow what a day at the office.

we cannot change the world but we can surely help one or two people.