A winter fairy tale: Bus driver Olga, two Ukrainian women and a bag

Around the turn of the year, miracles sometimes happen. Not only in movies, but also in real life. Yana and her family experienced one. She wrote it down for tuenewsINTERNATIONAL:
“I was exhausted that day. Honestly, just like any other day since I moved to Germany. Or after the ‘escape’. I just don’t like that word. Classes at the university in the morning, German classes in the afternoon, then, English classes in the evening, and my office job very late in the evening. That day it was snowing. 10 minutes before my English class ended, my mom sent me a text message, ‘I left my bag with all my papers on the bus.’ My class was over at that moment. After a short phone conversation, it was clear that my mother was standing at the bus stop of Tübingen’s main train station asking the drivers of all buses of line 18 if they had found the bag. She had forgotten her bag in one of the buses of the line to Hagelloch. She had been waiting for three hours. In the bag were the most important documents: a Ukrainian passport, an insurance card, a bank card. In her wallet she had only 10 euros cash. In addition, my mother speaks neither German nor English. With the small stock of words she learned here and the Google translator, she asked the drivers for help, but in vain. 10 minutes after our conversation, I was standing next to my mother at the bus stop at the main station. I realized that there was no point in waiting here any longer. It was already 9 p.m. After explaining to my mother that we would have to call the lost and found, the police and the bus company the next morning, we decided to take the next bus home.
Probably, there is no need to explain how difficult it is for refugees when they lose their passports abroad. We heard from Ukrainian acquaintances about six-month waiting periods and queues in front of Ukrainian embassies. Some Ukrainians even had to return home to get a passport despite shelling and daily rocket attacks. But it’s difficult to get a passport in Ukraine right now—because the Russian army is attacking civilian infrastructure, administrations often don’t have electricity either.
To say that we were dejected would be an understatement. As I lowered my head and looked at the glare of the headlights on the wet asphalt, I heard an excited ‘Oh my God, that’s Olga!’ from my mother. ‘That’s my rescue!’. Lifting my head, I saw the bus of line 18 that had just arrived, with a good-looking woman with blond hair and red lips sitting at the wheel. I have heard of Olga before. I remember the story from two months ago, when my aunt and my mother were chasing a bus that had already started at the stop. Finally, it stopped and opened the door one more time. As they were getting on, they heard in their native Ukrainian language, ‘Are you asleep, girls?’ At the wheel of the bus was Olga, Ukrainian like them. Olga had miraculously understood, without hearing a word from my mother or aunt, that they too were Ukrainian. To meet a bus driver from Ukraine in a German city hundreds of kilometers away from her homeland is a small miracle. Unfortunately, in the rush, everyone then forgot to exchange their contacts. But, fortunately, it was not the last meeting.
So, after hearing my mother’s words, I immediately knew who it was. We hurriedly got on the bus and rushed towards Olga. Olga immediately understood us and started calling her fellow bus drivers. Literally within five minutes, Mom’s bag was found thanks to this wonderful woman. Olga asked us to wait a quarter of an hour for the next bus on route 18 after getting off in Hagelloch. On this bus Olga’s colleague would bring us the lost bag. And so it came to pass. According to the timetable, it was the last trip on this route. Relief, joy and gratitude were overwhelming.
Olga told us that she had wanted to be a driver since childhood and loved her work. She was born in the Ukrainian city of Sambir in the Lviv region. She has lived in Germany for 21 years. Olga lives in Tübingen and is raising four children. For the past 10 years, she has worked here as a driver for the Rottenburg-based company Omnibus Groß. According to Olga, there are only four women among the approximately 250 public transport drivers in Tübingen. One of them is her.”


Busfahrerin Olga. Foto: tünews INTERNATIONAL / Yana Rudenko.






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