Sometimes, your story becomes a part of your destiny.
At least that was the case for Kristal Bush, who at age 6 was visiting her dad behind bars and by 27, lost track of how many loved ones she had visited in jail.
Kristal grew up to graduate from Temple University with a degree in Social Work but it was when she began Bridging the Gap, a transportation service shuttling people to visit their own relatives in jail, that her life truly started to change.
Several times a week, Bush will pick up passengers, mostly mothers and children, to be transported to one of 17 prisons across the state paying anywhere between $25-$70 a ride. During these trips, she offers helpful tips such as what to wear and how to prepare for what is likely to be an emotionally draining visit. It’s a door to door service that offers transportation but she also offers connection and compassion, too.
“I can relate to almost every person in my vans, the kids, the sisters, the cousins. But I don’t want to imagine being a mother visiting her child. It would break my heart,” Bush said.
In an interview with Helen Ubiñas of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Bush acknowledged that, even as a social worker, she didn’t always get the satisfaction she does now. She holds the hands of people going through an extremely difficult time in their life and more than once, has shared a hug with a child who is experiencing the same questions she did visiting members of her family in jail at such a young age.
Through what she’s experienced, she’s paved a way for other families to restore and build relationship with people who have largely been forgotten about in our society. If that’s not redemptive, we don’t know what is.