Today, while lounging in my small but cozy private compartment, I overheard the steward, Terrance, talking to some other passengers a few compartments away. He was saying to them that one of the biggest regrets right now for him is that passengers who don’t know each other are not required to sit together in the dining car due to Covid. He was quick to say he thought that was the right choice, but added, “The beauty of train travel is that all the passengers get to know each other. That happens mainly when they are forced to sit together during meals.”
He then recounted the following story.
“There was one table left in the dining car when four people arrived, two young black men in their 20s and an older white couple in their late 60s. It was clear from all their faces, they did not want to sit together. But that’s what you do on the train, one table, four people, that’s where you all sit. Period.
After a few minutes, they were making introductions. By the end of the meal, they were laughing and talking so much the wait staff had to gently encourage them to leave to make room for other diners. For the rest of the trip, they all insisted on eating together.
Who could have guessed those four people would have so much in common?
That is the beauty of train travel.”
We have many Amish on our train. I’d love to be seated with one of those young couples so we could chat.