Hey Team,

Picture if you will…a young man sits alone in an empty train car. Absorbed in his computer he’s oblivious to his surroundings. He thinks he’s boarded a train to Chicago. Little does he know, he has boarded an express train DIRECTLY TO…”The Twilight Zone!”

I was on the train from Milwaukee to Chicago the day before yesterday and true to form I was taking full advantage of everything the train has to offer. Shamelessly treating it like my own personal office, the more so because I was the only in my car. I sat with Charley in my lap, cruising the “webernet” for helpful info on how to better amtrekker.com. In the seats surrounding me I had my camcorder, my cell phone and my digital camera all plugged in and charging (there’s only one outlet per seat).

We were about two-thirds through the relatively short trip to Chicago when the train started to slow down for a scheduled stop. Suddenly the train shuddered slightly…not much, just enough to make me think to myself, “Hmm…that wasn’t a very smooth stop. I hope they check the brakes when they get in.”

About five minutes later a conductor gets over the intercom, “Hey folks, nothing to worry about but we’d appreciate it if everyone stays in the train for a couple minutes, we think we may have hit something. We’ll go investigate and let you know.”

My first though, considering how slight the shudder was, “I hope it wasn’t a dog.”

Ten minutes go by. Sirens wail. Four cop cars and a fire truck pull up alongside the train.

“Hey folks, thanks for your patience. We’re going to need you to stay in the train for a little while longer. It could be an hour or so before we get moving again. Please, once again, do not leave the train. We will try to accommodate smokers as soon as we can but we HAVE hit a car and there is gasoline and debris outside.” They went on to assure everyone that no one was hurt and that we would be moving within the hour.

Then I spent the next hour or so trying to find someway to entertain myself as I sat in some sort of stunned mixture of disbelief and boredom.

How often does this sort of thing happen?!

It turns out some old lady made a left turn onto the tracks thinking it was the road and got stuck. Then an eighteen-year-old kid stepped up to play the hero and pulled her from the car before it was thoroughly killed by a remorseless train.

To summarize: I’m in Chicago now, no one has been hurt and I just made it through yet another absurd event with one more improbable story under my belt.

I wonder what’s going to happen exciting tomorrow?

I’m done.

Brett.

Welcome to the wonderful world of the kindness of strangers:


Don’t let me stop you.