Sunday, December 07, 2008

My train man

Left right

I have a favorite CTA train conductor.

When I worked at my old job, I used to be on his train in the morning more often than not. He is one of the conductors who still talks over the intercom, even when it's not informing the passengers of a delay. He says things like, "Have a nice day," and "God bless you," and stuff like that. It was a nice way to start the morning. Occasionally I would be on his train other times, but usually it was during the morning rush.

Now that I have a new job, I hardly ever hear him. I leave earlier in the morning than I used to, so I'm never on his train. I leave work later, so I'm not on his train on the way home either.

On Thursday afternoon I left work early because I was sick. I got on the train, and imagine my delight when I heard the voice of my favorite conductor! It was the silver lining to my feeling like crap. As horrible as I felt, I was happy to hear my favorite conductor.

After we came out of the subway, at either Fullerton or Belmont, he told the passengers who were leaving the train, "Don't catch pneumonia!" If you don't remember, it was rather cold on Thursday. It made me smile, since I was on that train because I was sick. It was as if he was talking to me, except that I wasn't getting off the train yet.

A few stops later the train stopped. There was an equipment problem, and automated voice told me that the operator was off the train. I had seen the driver exit the train, as I was in the front car. As we sat there waiting it dawned on me -- The train operator I saw get off the train was my favorite conductor! And then I realized that, after hearing his voice for at least a couple of years, I had never seen what he looked like.

In a few minutes he got back on the train, and away we went. When we got to my stop I knew he would have the window open, checking to make sure everyone was on the train before closing the doors. Since I was in the front car I knew I would be able to see him. I thought about telling him that he was my favorite conductor. When I got off the train, I saw he was shaking the hands of people who just got off the train. I didn't tell him he was my favorite conductor, but I did shake his hand. It made my day.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

For years I appreciated the pleasant comments of the operator of my regular Evanston Express train on the ride home. Those little things can boost a lousy day into a better one, reminding us that there are still some decent people out there.

10:21 AM  

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