A few weeks ago I got to spend a few days in New York City. New York is one of my favorite places. But I realize that New Yorkers and North Easterners get a bit of a bad rap. I may have even noted that New York City is probably the home of resting bitch face.
Us Northerners are always moving fast, we don’t tend to stop and say hello, we aren’t much for eye contact. One of my favorite things about walking down the street in New York City is the anonymity. There is no chance that anyone is going to stop and make small talk with you.
When we left the city later my friends and I had way too much stuff, from the events we had attended. We had suitcases and bags and backpacks. More items than 3 girls should have had while trying to catch a train on a Friday night in midtown Manhattan.
When they called our train we had to get ourselves and all our stuff down the stairs to the tracks. As I made my way down I heard an “Oh no” from behind me, my friend Jessica of Mommy University, bags had fallen down the stairs. She was balancing her suitcase and a large toy, all while they kept calling our train over the speakers.
Then a nice man grabbed her bags and carried them down the stairs before running off to catch his train. But there was a second larger flight of steps.
I grabbed my bags and got to the train, only to look back and see Jess’s stuff spilling down the stairs, again. I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry or both. I couldn’t leave my bags or carry her bags, and I didn’t know what to do. And then a man approached her and began to gather up her stuff. Saying over and over again, “don’t worry I’m getting on your train”. He carried her stuff to the train and put her bags in the overhead area.
And as I was thinking this, the little boy next to me, about 7 years old, looked in my bags and saw a Play Doh set I had been given. “Is that for your kid he asked”I was floored so much kindness in a place that isn’t known for it. Sitting on the train I couldn’t help but think, there are nice people in the world. Even when you may not think there are.
“I don’t have any Play Doh”, he said. I glanced at him and reached into my bag and said “here do you want this”.
His mother told me it wasn’t necessary. But all I could think about was the people who had been nice to me and all the things that my son has at home.
“It’s fine”. I said. And her and I talked about raising boys and their obsessions with super hero’s. And we were just two moms on a train.
The conductor came over and glanced at our bags. He asked when we were getting off and we told him our stop. “You look like nice ladies,” he said, “when we get to your stop, I will carry your stuff off”.
We got to talking; he was a writer, his wife was a writer. We told him about our blogs and he told us about his wife’s book.
|Our awesome NJ Transit conductor|
Before our stop the guy who helped us on the train reappeared, “you two are still here” he said and began to tell the conductor about our adventure getting on the train.
Then he asked the conductor if he could open a beer on the train and offered the conductor a beer, which the conductor politely turned down. Then he said to the conductor, “how about a burrito, man, I’ve got this sweet burrito” and pulled a burrito out of his bag. The conductor said, “no thanks”.
Jess and I laughed and I couldn’t help but think about how random and wonderful the night had been. The conductor and the burrito man carried our bags off the train, and waved goodbye as we headed on our way.
Us northerners may get a bad rap. We may not say hi, we may not make eye contact, we may walk with our heads down and our earbuds in, we may occasionally forget our manners but there are nice people in the north and on that Friday night a few of them happened to be on a train back to Jersey.