Friday, May 13, 2011

Amtrak hits a home run

I recently travelled to Washington DC and back on the train. It was a great trip on our national railroad and all went as expected; trains were on time, and as usual there was entertainment to be heard from neighboring fellow travelers. There was a guy going to the big city for a court date who was wondering what term he would be given; a woman who apparently worked the streets (oh - there was much more but this is a family oriented site!); sweet and happy kids; whiney whinging and obnoxious kids; first time anxious train riders; an assortment of dour and silent, huge in all directions, and companionable (also silent) seat mates; and a couple who bickered and snarled at each other across the aisle (they stalked forward as the guy was beginning to hit her and she was beginning to tell him he couldn't hit her).

In Union Station on the return trip, our train's station conductor let the business class, seniors and families into a separate waiting area about ten minutes ahead of boarding time and lined us up in our respective groups.

After a bit, he started walking down the line of business class travelers, inspecting each carefully. He stopped at one, and had a quiet conversation with him. I expected an immanent arrest. He pulled the sweet looking young man out of the line, and the young man said: "I'd be glad to do that." All eyes were riveted on the scene, as what else is there to do when waiting to be let through the chute to scramble for seats.The conductor took him over to an elderly woman leaning against the wall, waiting in a line of her own. The three murmured in a low voice. The young man took the woman's suitcase, held out his arm, which she took, and off they went together to the train in a companionable stroll and with beaming smiles. They were the first ones on, and the assembled others all but gave the slight, soft spoken conductor a round of applause. It was a sweet, sweet sight.

1 comment:

  1. I never realized that a relatively short train ride (short compared to some of yours) would be so rich in characters and situations. You have such a great eye (and ear) for picking out the best stories to tell.