Thank you VISA

by lulujane on December 17, 2008

Prompted by a 50% discount off Via Rail travel offer by I enjoyed an inexpensive round trip train ride to Burlington to visit my sister Brenda last week.  I had an early morning ride to the station so got up before the birds to catch the 5:45 a.m. train out of Windsor.  Via Rail was shipping me to the Aldershot exit.

I took along a paperback.  Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx This book was a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1994.  I saw the movie quite a while ago, liked it and picked up this prize book at a yard sale this summer.  This was a small investment with a high yield.  What joy it gave me.  I had a hard time following the story because I was entranced by the author’s descriptive sentences/paragraphs/chapters.  I kept thinking with envy ‘wow – what a gifted writer’.  So, between my thoughts of envy and admiring her style of writing, I traveled my through the passages of my book.  Shipping News occupied me well on my outbound travel from Windsor, Ontario.

Why does my luggage always seem heavier when I am on the return leg of a trip?  Anyway, my luggage stowed overhead and between my feet, my occasional swaying ride on the train was pretty uneventful.  I am an antsy traveller.  I often cross and uncross my legs, wiggle in my seat, move my hands between brochures and magazines in the pouch hanging from the seat in front of me, checking things in my purse, looking for snacks.  I’m glad I don’t have to sit next to me on the train.  The seemingly constant activity of another person sitting so close to me would drive me crazy.

As we were nearing Windsor I moved to the front part of the train where we would disembark.  I did this because my luggage was awkward and heavy.  My camera bag, my heavy book bag, my backpack purse and an over-the-shoulder soft piece of overstuffed luggage. I moved it all nearer the exit while the aisle was clear of other passengers.

About ten minutes before our arrival at the Windsor station, the conductor stood near me waiting for the squeaking wheels grinding to a halt.  Little did I know that he was the prize of my trip – the jewel – something golden.  As I did on my journey from Windsor I asked this conductor how long he had been with Via Rail. This started a relatively short conversation that made a routine mundane trip an exciting one for me.

Shortly after I boarded in Aldershot I only raised my head when he walked through the two cars in his charge with a large box of candy canes offering it side to side as he moved past his seated passengers.  A Christmas greeting came with it.  I wondered silently if this was a first, a Via Rail initiative, but after our later conversation my belief is that it was a personal gift he offered.

He revealed to me that he has been in his job for a year, that he just loves it, loves people, and can’t believe he is getting paid for doing what he loves.  He shared that he is from Morocco and returns home once every year.  When he made mention of fondness for the children on our train, even the hyper excitable ones, he reflected about his young sons at home in Toronto.  Without getting into the nuts and bolts of what he told me of his family and travels home I learned much in our short exchange that cheered me.

As other passengers queued up to disembark, friendly conversations were exchanged with, and among them by this gentle man.  He made them smile and was obvious to me that they appreciated his warm and friendly dialogue exchange.

I could tell that he was inspired to do a good job and that it was a pleasure for him to be of service to Via Rail’s customers. If this is the kind of person Via Rail is hiring these days – Bravo for them.

No surprise that this gentleman’s name in his home country translates into our word ‘miracle’.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

toddles 12.18.08 at 8:41 am

I had a similar experience on a short flight from North Bay to Toronto en route to NFLD last month. The flight attendant was obviously in love with his job and made everyone smile. I chatted him up about his manner and of course he indicated it was because he loved his job and cared about people. 10 years on the job.

I thought he should be teaching others the ins and outs, but I guess you can’t teach people to care about their job, they have to decide to love it. It’s a decision isn’t it?

Thanks for the story.

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