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How a little bus Speedy learned that by helping others he becomes happy and strong

Life in the big city was in full swing. The sidewalks were filled with people and rivers of cars flowed through the streets. Taxicabs, buses, and trains ran from early morning until late at night. They delivered their passengers to their destinations and tried very hard for no one to be late.

Only one little bus named Speedy always ran empty. Speedy was a very restless and self-centered bus. In the mornings, when people rushed to work, he carelessly sped through the streets, blowing hats off the heads of pedestrians and honking at intersections.

"Where are you going?!" people would yell after him. "Take us, we are in a hurry!"

"There is no time!" Speedy would answer. "I have an urgent matter to tend to."

However, there was no matter. Speedy would simply look in all directions, trying to see everything around him.

Large buses gave Speedy, the troublemaker, reproachful stares, and taxicabs often tried to find something useful for him to do.

"Look, there is an old man with a heavy bag sitting at the bus stop," they would say. "Why don't you take him home?"

"Yeah, right!" Speedy would answer. "I need to get to the city park. There is a holiday show starting soon."

Speedy never opened his doors. That's how stubborn he was!

In the evenings, he drove out onto the lit highway and spent hours speeding among the endless lines of traffic. Sometimes he even made his way into the wrong lane only to be signaled out by the angry sirens of ambulances.

And as the city fell asleep, Speedy would head to his garage.

"What did you see today, troublemaker?" the car washing machine would ask him, tickling him with its furry brushes.

"I saw children going on a class trip to the movies," Speedy answered.

"Did you give them a ride?"

"No way! They leave behind so much garbage!" Speedy would say, frowning.

Once Speedy found himself on a narrow alley. It was rush hour, and he was in a hurry to get past the huge line of traffic that had spread out over several blocks.

All of a sudden, he saw a man rushing toward him. Annoyed, Speedy flashed his lights, but the man decisively stopped in place, blocking his path.

"Take me to the hospital," the man said. "My son is ill. Wait here."

As the man disappeared into the building, it occurred to Speedy that he could leave because there was no one there to stop him. But something forced him to stay. The man returned, carrying a little boy in his arms, and for the first time ever Speedy let passengers in.

"It's all up to you now, little bus!" the man said. "Hurry, but please don't hurt anyone."

If there was one thing that Speedy could do well, it was hurry. In addition, he knew all the ins and outs of the city, and took the shortest path to the hospital. In no time at all, they were facing the emergency room entrance.

The man was amazed. "Thank you, little bus! You were a true help to us," he said as the hospital attendants placed the boy on the stretcher. As they hurried him away, the boy glanced at Speedy and gave him a weak smile.

Long after they vanished behind the hospital doors, Speedy stood there, thinking about what had just happened. He felt that his little engine heart was skipping beats. The sun had set, the street lamps came on, but he continued to stand by the hospital entrance. The look on his face was so serious and worried that the ambulances passed him without saying a word.

And then he saw the boy's father.

"Hey, buddy!" he said, smiling.

No one has ever called Speedy "buddy" before. It felt really nice.

"Were you worried?" the father asked. "Well, don't be. Everything is fine. You came in time. He is going home in two days."

Speedy honked loudly from happiness. He drove the man home and headed to the garage, tired but happy.

The next morning, as the boy's parents left their house to go to the hospital, Speedy was already waiting for them by the door. There was a present for the boy on the back seat. It was a new colorful map of the city, with all the different routes, movie theaters, circuses, parks, and other attractions.
Speedy spent the whole day by the hospital. He did not leave even for a second because he was afraid to miss the boy's parents. Finally they appeared in the doorway and waved to him.

"Our son sends a big hello!" they yelled.

Speedy's face lit up, and his headlights began to emanate a warm glow.

They agreed to pick the boy up from the hospital at nine in the morning, and Speedy headed back to the garage. As he unsuccessfully tried to fall asleep, he decided to begin a new life.

In the morning, Speedy stood by the hospital doors, trembling and his engine heart knocking louder than ever. Suddenly, the boy burst out from the doors and ran over to him, shrieking cheerfully. He treated Speedy like a friend who he hasn't seen in ages.

"Hello!" the boy said. "I'm so glad you're here. I have so much to tell you!"

And this is how Speedy became friends with the boy. But really, he became friends with the whole city because he realized what a great benefit he can be to people.

Now Speedy is the first bus on the cool pavement of the early morning streets. He picks up the first passengers at the bus stops. He is always on time, and politely greets everyone who comes through his doors. Taxicabs wink at him playfully as they drive by, and large buses simply adore him.

"Enough work for you today, buddy?" the car washing machine asks him.

"One's strength never ceases when one helps others!" Speedy answers and smiles.

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