A small hooded figure climbed aboard the city bus that night, hoping to be able to hitch a ride home. The young turtle had deliberately disappeared for a bit, stating they were going off in search of Christmas gifts. Little had they known, that they would wind up so far from home.
“Twenty-five cents please,” the bus driver spoke, as the child climbed aboard. She watched as the child searched their pockets, unable to find any change.
The small turtle was about to climb back off the bus, when she heard the bus driver speak.
“Hey, don’t go,” the driver said softly. “Take a seat in the back, and I’ll make sure no one bothers you, alright?”
The little female turtle nodded, as the driver dropped a quarter into the slot for her. “Kay.”
“But first, tell me where you need to go.”
“Corner of Eastman and Laird.”
The driver raised her eyebrows. This child was far from home – and her route didn’t even come close to passing that street. But – how could she turn the poor, shivering child down after having had paid her way?
“Alright. Go on and sit in back. It may be a while.”
The child nodded, and quickly and quietly made their way to the back of the bus. Once the child was settled, the bus came to life and roared off down the street once more.
After a while, the bus was packed and the small turtle asleep in the back, snoring softly. It was while the young turtle lay asleep, that her hood fell off her head, revealing her face to everyone on the bus.
“Hey! We’ve a freak on our bus!” One woman cried.
“Quick! Shoot it!” Another man shouted.
“Hey!” The bus driver exclaimed. “Leave my kid alone!”
“Your kid?” One person questioned, raising an eyebrow.
“Yes! Problem?” The driver snapped slightly. “She’s dressed up in her favourite costume, as today’s her birthday.”
“Oh…sorry,” the people on the bus grumbled sheepishly. They couldn’t believe they’d almost shot some woman’s child for being dressed up as a turtle at Christmas.
“Now, settle down or get off my bus and walk,” the driver stated firmly. “And leave my child alone. I mean it!”
Everyone on the bus settled themselves once more, and soon were all off the bus as they had all reached their destinations.
The bus driver drove about town, going out of her way, just to get the turtle child in back to Eastman and Laird. She had noticed when the child first climbed aboard that she wasn’t human, but hadn’t let that bother her one bit. Why should she have? Everyone was different – to no fault of their own. And besides, this was a child after all, whether she be human or not.
Eventually, the bus pulled to a stop at the corner of Eastman and Laird. The driver frowned slightly, noticing the abandoned warehouse, but figured the child was trying to get home to her family.
“Hey,” she spoke softly, shaking the child lightly.
The child sat up abruptly, quickly yanking their hood back up over their head. She looked up nervously, only to receive a warm smile in return.
“We’ve reached Eastman and Laird,” the woman spoke softly. “Hope you’re not going to be in trouble for getting in this late.”
“Raph’s gonna be mad anyway. Sensei too,” the child grumbled sleepily. “Wasn’t s’pose to go that far.”
“Oh. Well, I’m glad I was able to return you to your home,” the woman informed her. “Also, you may want to think about getting strings attached to your hood. This way you can keep it up after falling asleep on a bus, and not almost cause riots.”
“Sorry,” the child apologized sheepishly.
“It’s quite alright… uh…”
“Lenore…” The turtle answered quietly. “But everybody calls me Lenni, ‘less I’m in trouble… Which I will be if I don’t get home.”
“It was nice meeting you – Lenore,” the driver said. “I’m Greta.”
“Thanks for the ride3 – Greta.”
Greta smiled at the turtle child again, and handed her a card with her bus schedule and number on it. “If you – or anyone in our family – ever needs a ride, just give me a call. I’ll gladly take you anywhere you want to go.”
“Thanks!” Lenore exclaimed, sounding a bit more awake now. “We like goin’ to the farm house! Ah…can you drive the bus outta the city?”
“I own it, so why not?” Greta shrugged. “Well, you’d best go. It’s late.”
“Thanks Greta,” Lenore replicated, climbing down off the bus. “An’ Merry Christmas!”
“Merry Christmas to you too, Lenore,” Greta replied, before shutting the bus doors.
Lenore watched the bus pull out of sight, then went into the warehouse and used the sewer in there to get home. Donatello had put the manhole in, so that his sisters could come and go easily, when allowed up top with them – namely, so they wouldn’t mess up the elevator.