Suzanne's Second Estate

A web log of my thoughts, activities, life....

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Train to Wheaton

The Metra. Photo by Darren Larson

On the morning of New Year's Eve, I set off on my own from the apartment and took the L downtown to catch a train to Wheaton. My good college friend, Kelly, and her husband and two children live there temporarily, while Darren attends grad school.

I researched where I was going and gave myself plenty of time to get there. But after getting two sets of conflicting directions to the train station, walking about 15 blocks and arriving at the wrong entrance to the station, I stepped up to the ticket counter 8 minutes before my train (which only departs every two hours) was to leave. The guy ahead of me in line, who looked like a college student, asked me if I knew information about a certain train. I shook my head and explained I wasn't from Chicago.

When I stepped up to the counter, I was panicked to learn that they only took cash. (Note to self: Always carry cash in the city.) I'd spent my last 10 recharging my transit card, and in all the rushing I hadn't had time to stop at an ATM. The man at the counter told me the cost was $3.80. I plopped down one pitiful dollar and began scrounging through my change, which mostly consisted of pennies. At that moment, a $5 plopped down in front of me. The guy I'd talked to in line smiled. "I understand," he said.

It was hard to accept his generosity, knowing that I couldn't repay him. But I realized maybe I'd have a chance to pay the favor forward someday. When he got off the train at Alders, he happened to glance back. I waved and mouthed "thank you." He smiled. I hope he realized the joy his simple act of kindness brought me.

Kelly met me at the Metra station. I missed the first Wheaton stop (trains are very tricky to exit, I learned), so she picked me up at the second one. She took me to Butterfield's Pancake House where we had a delicious breakfast. Her 2-month old, Zach, came with us and received much attention. After lunch Kelly drove me back to their townhome and I got to see Darren (again) and her 3-year-old daughter, Bethany. We spent the afternoon catching up, enjoying some local shopping and touring the Wheaton campus. Getting to see Kelly was such a special part of my time in Chicago.

Kelly and Bethany (before Zach was born) Photo by Darren Larson


At 6:52 AM, Blogger Ashleigh said...

What a great story of how the guy in line behind you helped you out! I wouldn't have known to have cash either.

At 11:13 PM, Blogger Anna H. said...

I am very jealous!! :-)

At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Kelsey said...

THat's SUCH a cute momma/daughter picture!

At 9:30 AM, Blogger Rabenstrange said...

As a resident of central Tokyo, I can certainly identify with the irritations of train travel. It's nice to hear how God used a potentially problematic situation to encourage you.

At 11:49 AM, Blogger Deanna Regina said...

i've had to deal with that train...and i cried...and my friend ended up driving downtown to pick me up...


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