Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Chance Encounter at the Bus Station

Cousin Mike at the Greyhound bus station yesterday in Philadelphia

Yesterday I left you all with a teaser about a mystery man I met at the bus station. 

In today's post I will reveal that mystery. 

That guy is one of my black sheep cousins.

I will not reveal his name in this post out of respect for him but I can tell you that his father is my first cousin.  His grandfather was my uncle, brother of my father.  Hope I didn't confuse you too much with one of those "he's the cousin of my uncle's nephew's wife sister-in-law" explanations. 

A brief family history here:  my father had ten brothers. As in all families ours has had and continues to have its share of dysfunction.  Since I am the family historian, I know most of the family history, feuds and secrets. 

First, about yesterday's "meeting" at the Greyhound bus station in Philadelphia.

Pat takes an early bus back to his home in Hamilton, Ontario after our week in Philadelphia. I walk Pat to the bus station. While waiting for Pat's bus departure, I happened to notice a guy sitting with is head between his legs the next row of seats over.  I thought to myself, "He looks familiar."  I mentioned to Pat, "That guy really looks familiar."  I went back to my usual patter with Pat but I kept looking back at that guy who was obviously distressed.  Then it hit me, he looked a lot like my cousin Mike.  I've only seen Mike once in person, at a family reunion seven years ago.  But at that reunion Mike was much heavier.

Mike with his sister and another cousin at the family reunion 2011

I wasn't sure if I should approach him.  I know Mike and he knows me but we aren't what you would call close family. When I used to run the family reunions I would always invite Mike and his sisters but they didn't come. But at the last one they did come, right at the end to meet other family members. Their line of our family tree went off in the wrong direction years ago when Mikes grandfather distanced himself from the family for reasons I won't go into here.

Me (far right) with my cousins at the family reunion 2011

I decided to approach Mike yesterday.  I walked by him and while his head was still down I said 
"Mike".  I don't know if he heard me or not but he didn't look up.  I didn't say "Mike" very loud either.  I went back to my seat with Pat.

Again I said to Pat "I'm sure that's my cousin Mike."  But he looks different because he's lost a lot of weight.  Finally I decided to approach him full force.  I walked up to where he was sitting, head still bowed and said "Hi Mike."  He raised his hoodie covered head to look at me and I said "Do you know who I am?"  He said without hesitation "Yes, I know who you are."  

His quick response surprised me since we had only met in person once.  I asked him "What brings you here?"  He said "I'm leaving my family in Coatesville (PA) and joining my father in North Carolina. I'm starting a new beginning."    

This is ironic because my father and his brothers left North Carolina (hillbilly country) in 1930 for a new life in Pennsylvania.

Eleven Tipton Brothers at family reunion 1960 - my father is tallest man in back row on right, Mike's grandfather is kneeling right below my standing father on the right

Mike told me he was leaving the drug infested and violence in Coatesville, Pennsylvania and starting a new life in North Carolina. I told him I wasn't sure it was him that I saw in the bus station because he had lost so much weight.  He told me he had lost 140 pounds.  Good for him.  

I asked Mike to join me and Pat while waiting for his bus.  We sat across from a woman who I had asked earlier to take a photo of me and Pat.

Pat at the Greyhound bus station yesterday with the woman who took out pictures later

This was the first time on this trip I had a picture taken of me and Pat that wasn't a selfie. I asked her to take a picture of me and my cousin.  

Me and Mike at the Greyhound bus terminal yesterday

I talked a bit with Cousin Mike until it was time for Pat to catch his bus.  I said "Goodbye" to Pat (we missed out hug this time) and sat down with Mike again. After some more conversation about family I decided to leave and return to my rented suite to get ready for my ride back to Delaware.

First and only non-selfie photo of me and Pat during his trip to Delaware and Pennsylvania this year!

Later I contacted Pat and he told me that the woman who took out picture was also leaving her family.  And get this, she was scheduled to be on the same bus as my cousin!  

So how to you like that for serendipity?

Pat eventually gets to meet all members of my family! By the way, I'm growing my beard back. I don't know this beardless guy.

Well, I wish the both of them much success in their new beginnings.  


nitewrit said...


For a guy who starts his post saying he is not going to reveal the name of his cousin, you kinda revealed it over and over. I to wish him, and that women, the best on restarting their lives. It is a hard thing to do.


Raybeard said...

All is clear now. Cousin Mike doesn't look like the sort of person I'd want to get on the wrong side of anytime. But I'm sure he's as gentle and harmless as a kitten.

Jon said...

This is a fascinating post, Ron. There are times when I believe in "fate" more than just coincidence and this is one of them. I'm glad you got to see your long-lost cousin. And wow - judging by the before and after photos - he really did lose a lot of weight. Good for him. It's also nice that the lady took photos of all of you together.

Moving with Mitchell said...

Well, I hope things go the way Mike is hoping.

Ron said...

Never said his full name Lar. Of course anyone of average intelligence can figure out his name but I didn't post his full name subject to an Internet search, which was the reason I didn't post his full name. Even so, no big secret. He posts on Facebook all the time.

Ron said...

You're absolutely right. I don't know Cousin Mike that well but my feeling is that he is as gentle and harmless as a kitten. However, like many of us, he has had his challenges in life I'm sure. I wish him nothing but the best.

Ron said...

My apologies I'm way behind on my blog reading. I just read your "skunk" blog and I HAVE to respond. Then catch up on your other postings. What a coincidence that I saw Cousin Mike yesterday at that bus terminal. What were the odds? I hope that he and that lady have much success in their new beginnings. They both impressed me as very decent people. Most of us have had our life challenges and sought new beginnings, me included. Mike is only 29 years old. I told him he has his whole life ahead of him and I wish him much success.

Ron said...

I have a feeling Mike will be successful in his new beginning. My impression of him is that he is a decent guy who needs a break. He's making he right move.