Public transit becomes a big part of my daily life in this city which you all know about. I blog often about my Ubahn stories and here are some things that happened this week…
The girl across from us
Ana and I were headed home last Wednesday from further West on the U9. This is not our usual Ubahn but we needed to go from U9 to U7. We were chatting and a man came on the train. The doors closed and in an announcement he held up his ID and announced that today was his birthday. Could we spare change for him on his birthday? We both acknowledged that this was a new one and smiled at his approach. The young woman across from us, as he came buy with his hand out, gave him some changed and wished him a good birthday. When he walked away, she was visibly moved by the whole scenario. She didn’t demand to see his ID (like the gentleman down the car) and she didn’t ask questions. And clearly she has a big heart, she wore it on her sleeve. I even turned to Ana and commented that I was touched to see this interaction from this person.
The next day, I arrived in class and sat down. The seat next to me remained empty but a little late into the class a woman too the next seat. I glanced and thought, “that looks like that woman from the Ubahn!” Throughout the entire 1.5 hour class I was trying to glance at this person. She noticed and smiled at me big but didn’t register. After class I approached her and said, “This is going to be weird but were you on the U9 yesterday when a man got on and held up his ID…”
“And said it was his birthday?” She said.
It was her! I told her about how that encounter moved me and the next sentence out of her mouth was, “Oh! You are the pastor!” More conversation.
Small world on the Ubahn in a city of 4 million people.
A minute makes all the difference
I sometimes spend days feeling as though I am constantly chasing public transit. The other day I jogged down the stairs to see that my normal Ubahn left one minute early which meant that I had to wait for 8 minutes for the next one in an already tight schedule. My day went from walking in just before the meeting started to walking in 8-10 minutes late depending on all of the pieces. In the world of public transit, a minute can make all the difference in the world. It is between on time and late, early and on time. It is between choosing that bus or the other one over there and it definitely sets a tone for the day. I am in some of the best moods when I just happen to catch all of the pieces…train, bus, and tram…in just the right moment. A minute can make all the difference in the world.
I was coming home from school on Tuesday and nestled into my spot. It takes 45-55 minutes each way to school so I have downloaded my music and my podcasts for the ride. Across from me a little girl has taken up the seats and is eager to look out the window even though at this point you mostly see darkness in between Ubahn stops. She must be about 4 or 5. She is eager to be on the train and her mother is standing up with a stroller but still within sight. She yells out, “How many, mom,” in German. Her mom replies that they have 4 more stops to go before they are getting off. She promptly puts up her four fingers to count down her trip. She keeps watch on the window and at each stop announces how many more to go, how many fingers are left on her little hand. I can’t help but smile and notice I am doing the same thing, just not with my fingers up. Three more stops….two more stops….one more stop…..get up and get ready….
We might all be counting down as we have our ear buds in or our phones out. We all are anxiously awaiting the next stop. But the crowd is so entertaining and here is this little one doing the counting for us.