Waaay Behind the Scenes: The Bus Watchers
Recently I was made aware of a little-known group of hardy volunteers whom I affectionately refer to as “the bus watchers.”
I was eating breakfast in the lobby of our Houston hotel when I saw a man who had caught my attention earlier. He, a tall Latino, had stood out among the otherwise all Asian volunteers in the prior days at the theater. I said hello.
He had just come in from the cold and was looking for some hot coffee. It was Christmas morning. He told me, “My wife and I were just watching your buses through the night, and it sure is cold out there.” I replied, “Wow, just the two of you the whole night?” “Yeah, we started doing that in Dallas and volunteered to keep going. We love what you are doing. Those dancers are amazing!” All the while, despite his shivering, he was smiling broadly. “The next shift came to relieve us, so now we’re here in the hotel for a little while to wash up and head off to work.” His wife had to work that day back in their home city of Fort Worth. I said, “And Christmas?” He smiled again and with a twinkle in his eye said, “This IS Christmas.” I was struck. I could tell there was not an ounce of bitterness in the man.
His wife Jade then came in, shivering a bit more than he, but smiling just as much. He had said that she was always energetic and positive, and I could see it.
They explained that everywhere we go, volunteers watch our buses 24/7. I had heard a little bit about this, but didn’t realize what a tremendous undertaking it was. The need for this goes back to a couple of incidents of bus tires being slashed in some other cities where we performed. What an unfortunate thing. Certain people who are responsible for the persecution of people of faith in China really wish we were not out there exposing what they are doing through some of our pieces, so they come up with their ways. But they have never successfully stopped us in the free world. And now that we have the dauntless bus watchers helping us wherever we go, that option is out.
So here’s to the bus watchers and all the others who give of their time and themselves to make our performances possible. We truly couldn’t do it without you.
Oboist with Shen Yun's New York Company Orchestra
March 14, 2011