Every once in a while, my faith in humanity is restored.
I wasn’t entirely looking forward to a two day train trip with two small children on my own. I was pretty sure my train-mad kidlets would get a kick out of it and that it would be a fantastic opportunity for them to meet people while seeing geography in action. I also figured it would be easier than driving the 16 hours alone, though I had the sneaking premonition that cajoling an almost-5 year old and a 3 year old into maintain their public manners for two days might be a bit of a challenge (just look at the blackmail pic up there).
While I was right on all counts (and could probably write a dozen posts on the many things we had the opportunity to learn about and explore), the most memorable and important aspect of our trip was our experiences with both the staff of Amtrak and many of our fellow passengers, who made our (exhausting) trip quite wonderful. I think the retired couple that shared a observation car window with us summed it up best, “There’s something about the train that can bring out the best in people.”
- To the mother who let her little girl watch Tangled and eat apples and string cheese with Sharkbait and Chickadee, even though I was a “stranger” (not all parents are as laid back as you are)–the kids were so occupied, I was able to finish the oh-so-good book I was reading!
- To the extremely understanding persons in the women’s restroom at the Washington DC station that let us cut in front of the line when Chickadee *really* had to go
- To the grandmother of 12 that helped corral Sharkbait during his meltdown over running out of raisins and for reading him a story while I gathered the stuff out of my backpack that had come unzipped
- To the beautiful woman that took off her expensive coat and wrapped Chickadee up for the cold ride from the train into the station when I couldn’t find her blankie
- To the couple from Washington DC, headed to New Orleans, for your friendliness and for your help in entertaining the kids during our lay over in Chicago
- To the Red Cap (the Amtrak version of sky cap service) that went above and beyond, giving the kids a ride through Union Station when the train wasn’t *quite* ready for early boarding and to the staff in the dining car for not cringing over the mess and noise two small children can make
- To the school group from Detroit for helping entertain the kiddos at the end of their journey when they were tired and cranky
- To the Muslim family with the beautiful new baby who encouraged their (somewhat shy) adorable little girl to play with Chickadee–it was so wonderful to see that not even language needed to be a barrier for children to play together with such joy, not even noticing their differences, much less letting them become a stumbling block to cooperation