I am making my way home from the office under the scorching afternoon sun. There’s not enough time to take a stroll home, so I decide to take the bus instead.

As I reach the bus stop, there are three other people waiting for the bus there. The nearest to me is an old lady… wearing funky iPod earphones and moving her head to the beat of the music. The second is a young Indian man. He glances at me momentarily before turning back to watch for his bus.

The third is a smiling old man. What’s he smiling about, I wonder. He smiles at me, but I turn to avoid his gaze. He continues to smile, unfazed.

I sit down a short distance from the old man, occasionally stealing a glance at my bus stop companions. The old lady continues to enjoy her music, while the old man continues to smile at everyone who passes, which aren’t many.

Shortly after, a big boy comes rapidly down the pavement towards us, cycling a rusty red bicycle. His excited expression betrays him as he looks quickly from face to face, searching for a friendly countenance. The stout boy reminds me of a friend of similar size. What’s more, he strikes me as a bum who, at his age, should be out working at this time of day.

Again, I avoid the gaze, not wanting to be disturbed. Three guesses who the boy stops at.

The smiling old man gazes up curiously at the big boy, who excitedly begins his chatter. At first I think they know each other, but the smiling old man looks puzzled, so screw that theory. I overhear some bits of what the boy says. It is not difficult because he is speaking loudly. It is difficult because he is not speaking in English.

“Hey, did you know?! There’s a dead dog over on the other side of the road.”

“….” was the old man’s reply.

“Really, I’m not kidding.”

“….” By now, we other three bus stop companions couldn’t help watching the conversation unfold.

“I can go over there and bring it here for you.”

“!!!”

No, really, it’s alright, don’t trouble yourself. I find myself wanting to say. But it’s too late. The big boy takes off and zooms right across the busy road.

Smiley looks at me and shrugs his shoulders. Moments later, he boards the first bus that comes, followed by the Indian youth, and finally, me, leaving the funky old woman alone, waiting for the dead dog to arrive.

As I sit down on the bus, I feel a tinge of sadness. I had looked into the big boy’s eyes and saw something familiar. It is a look that cries out for attention. Bad attention is better than no attention, so he does what he can to gather that bad attention. Nothing is worse that to be ignored; nothing is worse to seem not to matter to anyone at all.

Often, we come across an obnoxious person, or someone extremely irritating and annoying. Why are they this way? What drives them to become who they are? Often it is loneliness. The vicious cycle that exists is one that causes him or her to seek attention, any form of attention at all. But very often, this drives people further away from them… causing them to seek even more attention.

There is only one solution out of this vicious cycle, only one way to rescue such people. Are you the one who will risk what you have and who you are to save them?

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