Friday, April 23, 2010

Reason #67: Role Reversal - Becoming the Kind Stranger

On Thursday, I traveled to Hartford, Connecticut to meet with a client and tour a few properties. After a busy day, my colleague and I arrived at the Hartford Amtrak station a half hour early for our 3:30pm train ride home to New York City. In an attempt to enjoy the sunshine, we plopped ourselves down on a bench. Two minutes into our relaxation mode, a black family of four arrived. The father, carrying three large pieces of luggage, pushed along a baby in a stroller. The mother lugged three suitcases in complete exhaustion. The little boy, wearing a Spiderman hat, happily pulled his little red suitcase toward me.

My colleague quickly stood up to make room for the family, and I scooted over. "No need to move," the mother said to me. "We are about to be on a train for eight hours. We should be standing and stretching." Despite his mom's words, the little boy sat down next to me. I began chatting with the mother and was informed the family was moving from Connecticut down to Virginia. Rather than moving by car or plane, they packed up their belongings and were making the move via Amtrak. "It's cheap," she told me.

As we made small talk, we began to hear the sound of the train approaching in the distance. "Please let me help carry something onto the train," I offered. The father looked at the mother, then looked back at me, and said, "Okay. You can carry the baby." So he lifted the largest "baby" I have ever seen out of the stroller and placed him in my arms. "This is RJ," the mom told me. Despite being shocked that the parents asked a stranger to carry their child versus SAY! a piece of luggage, I accepted. RJ was adorable. His little brown eyes looked up at me while his hands became intertwined with my pearl necklace. "RJ, do not break those pearls. I have no money," the mom said as she hoisted two suitcases onto her shoulder. As the train slowly approached, I questioned whether my arms hurt more from carrying this "small child" or from my college bench-pressing days. My colleague, who had been off making phone calls suddenly appeared. "What in the.....," he started to say, "You have to let me take a picture of you," so off he snapped this photo:

Side Note: This picture was sent by my colleague to my work team with the title, "She's coming home a NEW MOM!"

The train eventually approached the station. All of the fellow Amtrak passengers stood back kindly and let the family board first. Mom went first, the little boy second, all seven suitcases followed, then the baby stroller, and then I climbed up the stairs while holding RJ. Upon entering the doors of the train, I looked left, I looked right, and Mom was nowhere to be found. "No way," I thought. "Did they just leave me with their baby?" Panicking, I walked down two cars and eventually found Mom sitting in her seat. "Umm, here is your child," I said and handed RJ off. With great ease and a kind smile, she simply stated, "thank you."

For the next three hours I sat on the train with shaky arms and a smirk. It was nice to be so trusted. I hope the family of four made it to Virginia, and RJ is safely in his Mom's arms.

Life is surprising. What's next?

1 comment:

  1. HAHAHAHA that picture of you with the giant baby is hilarious. Funny story!