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Tosin Adebola: What the Blue Bus Taught Me



Something interesting happened yesterday night, and though I’m having the busiest day, I love that I’ve found the zeal to somehow write this down in its freshest state.
You see, one of the many reasons I loathe the blue Coventry buses apart from the fact that they are the farthest from where I live, is the exact bus fare, “no change, no refunds policy”.

As the payment goes straight into a locked safe, the implication is this: sometimes you have to forfeit a 5 or 10-pound note for a 1.90pounds trip simply because you don’t have the exact coin fare.

On this particular night, I had so hurriedly gotten on the bus to realize that I only had a 10pound note, and a few coins. That for me was a defining moment, (let’s allow for some hyperbole); giving away my 10pounds note, or rushing to the nearest store, getting some change but waiting 30 minutes for the next bus, which would take another hour to my destination. Need I say, it was a tough decision for a student like me.

What I did without thinking surprised me. I started by depositing the few coins I had, that I knew clearly were not up to 1.90, I started with a pound coin, and gradually exhausted all the pennies I had, from 20p’s, to 10p till I exhausted all the tiny 1p’s. And at 1:45 pounds, I had exhausted my coins.
I then glanced at the driver who through my enthusiasm not to give up had somehow become patient and impressed.

He called out to one of the young boys already seated if he had coins for my note, but as helpful as the boy wanted to be, he had no coins, I mean, he had a bus pass, I don’t blame him.
That boy feeling a bit guilty called out to the next girl in line, who went on to say ”well I don’t have enough coins for your 10-pound note. However I do have the less than half a pound that could complete your journey”
Jackpot! I lit up immediately; I thanked her politely for sparing my 10 pounds the havoc it would have encountered

Now it’s only 10pounds, but it got me thinking about more serious issues in life. I was brave enough to start by depositing the first pound, then all of my tiny little coins. Very often, we are afraid to start out anything because of the fear that we don’t have enough to start – enough skills, expertise, experience, support or even finance, whatever your arguments are include them here, as the list is endless.
We make light of what we have but forget that most great people are great because they started out relatively small.

We need to forget sentiments and urge ourselves to start with the little we have now, let’s start by depositing all those little pennies, the little experience here and there, skills, the little finance you think can’t go anywhere, all the little family & friends support/network.

No one has it all together when they first begin; they just build and keep building. This is not undermining the importance of counting your costs before laying a foundation; but it is more of starting out regardless, and keep building a stone at a time.

Just like the God-sent lady that added the extra 45pence I needed, you’d be surprised at how many people God can position to assist you once you first begin. Let’s start out and stop despising the days of small beginnings. And when we see people starting out in small ways, let’s learn to be supportive.

Please share some of your experiences below. What have you started out regardless of how small you consider it and the excuses you had to let go of? And if for any reason you’re still struggling with one excuse for not starting out, leave a comment below, I will try to reply with as many possible opportunities available to you as possible.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Felix Mizioznikov

Tosin Adebola (The Aspiring Sartorialist) is a Fashion, inspirational & Lifestyle blogger at The Aspiring Sartorialist. She is eclectic, very open-minded and particularly enjoys having intelligent, deep and thorough conversations. She also blogs, shares fashion content and writes about her experiences in her free time on her personal blog, linked above. Be sure to check it out. Instagram-Tosinakande || Twitter-tosin_adebola


  1. Sisi

    March 19, 2015 at 11:54 am

    The Coventry blue bus, still fresh in my memory with those elderly women in the bus always trying to make small talk even when you don’t want to. Bless them. Nice post by the way.

  2. Yewi

    March 19, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Thank you for this Tosin. I think most of us know these but lack the courage and bravery to branch out and start things for ourselves; at least I know that’s my problem. I have been told severally to just start out first but fear!! lol fear can be so crippling but I’ve been trying to break out of it. Your words come at a time when I have seriously been ruminating on all you mentioned. Thank you because you have given me another reminder to start and stop making excuses. We’ll get there slowly but surely!

    • Tosin Adebola

      March 19, 2015 at 6:44 pm

      Well-done!! you seem to know what you want but you need to want it more desperately than you are afraid of failing, or whatever your fears might be. I’m glad you’are encouraged. Feel the fear but do it anyway- Susan Jeffers is a good book i’d recommend !! :)) You sound very smart and i have no doubts you’d do great 🙂
      Thanks for your comment xx

  3. chy

    March 19, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    i just purchased a caravan for my business which was herculean considering financial state i was in. last yr i saved for d caravan but at the end of the yr the money went into some family stuff; that depressed me but in January i was able to put together my whole salary to purchase it which meant i had to forgo a whoooooooole lot. i even photographed my last 1k to mark d day i was left with just 1k. Good for me at the end of February, i was able to begin again. Transferring d caravan has not been easy but i will get there. I had been afraid to start for a long time but really proud of myself that i finally did.

    • Tosin Adebola

      March 19, 2015 at 6:49 pm

      I already love you lol and your determination is admirable. I don’t want you worrying very much, i just want you to find the strength to keep building and pushing. Tough situations don’t last, tough people do. i am proud of you too :)) x

  4. Anon

    March 19, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Ah, they need to scrap cash payments on the bus then. Welcome to London and TFL. It’s either you pay via your Oyster card or your contact-less debit card or your paper day/weekly/monthly pass. With this policy there are hardly any delays with people trying to pay.

    Just for laughs, I would have been among those who would have eyed the hell out of you for not having the correct change and for bringing out a £10 note. It delays. When I manage to jump on the bus, I am always in a hurry and want the drivers to get moving quickly!

    This is similar to those controlled parking machines that don’t give change. Imagine having a £2 coin and you want to pay 60p for 30 minutes car parking. I have learnt my lesson. Once I know I need to pay for parking I go and buy sweets or chewing gum so I have all the pennies and I can pay the exact fare.

    My experience? Saving. 10 years ago, I started by transferring £50 at the end of every month from my current to my savings account. You don’t want me to tell you how much I now put away every month. Year by year, I increased the amount from the previous year and trust me it has helped especially with unexpected expenses and those exotic holiday ticket prices!.

    • Tosin Adebola

      March 19, 2015 at 6:57 pm

      HAHAHA i’m sure i got a few of those type of stares lol but they usually are the least of my concerns when I’m in situations like that LOOL

      It’s interesting you raised that saving a small percentage every month, i read about it beginning of this year too, and i got excited about it too. Let’s see how it goes for me :)) xx
      Oh and well-done too, saving is always a difficult task, you sound like a disciplined person :)) x

  5. Priscy

    March 19, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Started learning PHP and MySQL last year…at a point I was good in it, then I had an accident.
    Since I recovered from that accident, I have not touched that part of my system.
    I keep procrastinating.
    Now, my interests have shifted towards Internet Services, I just pray I will be patient to learn this through and through

    • Tosin Adebola

      March 19, 2015 at 7:00 pm

      Aw so sad to hear that. I hope you find the patience, determination and drive to fully go after whatever it is that now interests you. What are success stories without those bumps & challenges on the way?
      Thanks for your comment xx

  6. bigspirit

    March 19, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    What the blue bus taught me: Never discard your coins. Since oysters are of no use in Coventry one had to always keep that exact £1.90 or trek to school… lol. crazy times I tell u.
    Nice write-up, especially the comparison to small beginnings… Brilliant!

    • Tosin Adebola

      March 19, 2015 at 7:01 pm

      haha, Thank you :)) x

  7. Nne Somebody

    March 19, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Awwww! Someone who detests Cov transport as much as I do. But the moral of your story is spot on. Sometimes, it’s the courage to start at all that is lacking.

  8. Garfunkel

    March 19, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Brilliant analogy Tosin. This is especially apt in this day where it seems you need to have a lot of capital or political backing to achieve anything. We just need to start where we are and take steps everyday in the direction of our dreams. I hope people receive your message and apply it to their lives. Once again, great message.

    • Tosin Adebola

      March 19, 2015 at 7:02 pm

      Thank you, glad you got the message. :)) xx
      Thanks for the comment

  9. molarah

    March 19, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    See me. I saw ‘blue bus’ in the title and I thought it was BRT bus in Lagos *scratching head*

  10. Aderonke says #Bring BackOurGirls#

    March 19, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    hahahhahha i thought same too. U are not alone…lol

  11. Diva

    March 19, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    My dear Tosin, your story just reminded me of my days as a student in coventry, when I have to open my midlands bus app to realise i have just a few minutes to catch the next bus and I would dash out of the house calling out my housemate to pls shut the day after me. #nostalgic#

  12. Missy

    March 19, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    The Blue bus!!! Oh my! So many memories! Choi! See me, practically fresh off the plane, feeling like I had arrived. That’s how I entered bus in Cov and produced a 50 pound note to pay for bus. Na so I drop the thing inside those their death trap receptacles. I come dey wait for change. The bus driver was looking at me like I was bonkers. Na so one naij guy wey dey my back come tell me say “ah! Babe, na 50 u drop for dia???? Then no dey give change oo!!” Needless to say, I walked away wailing and cursing and desperately missing the days when I could fight bus conductor for my N20 change

    • Tutsie

      April 2, 2015 at 10:51 am

      50pounds u mean? Babe that could pay for your monthly Bus fare oo

  13. Pedro B

    March 19, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Lol , reminds me of my days in Coventry. Good write up, really inspiring. Never despise the days of little beginning.

    • Tosin Adebola

      March 19, 2015 at 9:57 pm

      Thank you :)) x

  14. Zee

    April 1, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Thank you Tosin for your very inspiring piece 🙂

  15. Tutsie

    April 2, 2015 at 10:56 am

    It took me a while to adhere to using bus pass because my first semester was just 3 days classes in a week and staying as far as CV5( resumed to school late ,so couldn’t get accommodation around shool) I thought there was no need getting bus pass.. But it’s dawned on me later that it’s better to have one than looking for ‘change ‘ every morning and if you are not lucky, having to attend 9am classe and the store you are to change’ money to coin,isn’t open..TutuLolaAboh.

  16. Ademola

    April 9, 2015 at 1:47 am

    Your article is a thought-provoking piece. My resolve never to despise an humble beggining is again reinvigorated. I look forward to read more of your write-up.

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