A column by Stan Stewart, who owns The Informer with his wife, Pauline
In Auckland, I rode the bus four or five times a week. Usually there were only a few passengers.
We observed social distancing and no one talked.
One Thursday morning was different. Two older men sitting on opposite sides of the aisle started
a conversation, the protesters at Parliament.
The man on my side boomed out, “I don’t believe that people should lose their jobs because they
are not vaccinated.”
“Right,” the woman across from me called out.
“People should be allowed to have their own opinions,” her partner interjected.
“Agreed,” the other older man boomed out. “But these people with tents and placards went too far.
I think they really wanted a riot and have an excuse to throw rocks at policemen.”
His companion replied, “It was fun for them.”
Then the one on my side had a question. “Do you think this conflict in Ukraine will lead to the third
His friend on the opposite side replied, “If it does we will be the lucky ones - down here at the
bottom of the earth.”
In my mind surviving at the bottom of the world while the rest of the planet was burning, was a
The friend boomed out again, “I know what will end all life on earth. It seems that these days we
all have fixed opinions and we think we’re right. And we won’t listen to others.”
The older man on the other side replied. “It’s like those protesters with placards. Everyone is
shouting at others saying, ‘I’m right and you’re wrong. Agree with me or I will throw rubbish
The man who started the conversation said, “That is how the world will end. People, nations all
believing they are 100 percent right and the others are completely wrong. Leaders who believe this
will push the nuclear button.”
His friend replied, “Believing I am totally right and everyone else is totally wrong is very dangerous.”
“This is the way the world will end” the man on the opposite side replied.
There was no more conversation. A sombre mood had overtaken the bus.
At the terminus, the man who started the conversation paused and turned to all of us, “Have a nice
day” he said.
I felt gratitude toward him. He had said something nice.