Got There Ferry, Ferry Fast

, , , , | Hopeless | August 29, 2018

My dad was travelling from the Netherlands to France, by public transportation. He was going to join my mother there, who went a few weeks earlier. His trip should’ve gone like this: Tram, Train 1, Train 2 (Thalys – a French-Belgian high-speed train operator), Metros/Subway, Train 3 (TGV), Train 4 (local train), walking a bit, Ferry,  and then hello, Mom! He had done this trip for several years and this was most likely the last time he would have to make this trip.

This is how his trip went:

The tram had some scheduled maintenance, which they mentioned only a week before. They arranged a bus, but there would be delays. Dad decided to take a bus earlier than planned, just in case. He arrived in time for Train 1.

Train 1 had no delays and my dad got on the Thalys, arriving on time. The Metro was going fine, as well. Then, he got aboard his TGV (Train 2).

The TGV decided to leave one hour later than planned. No one bothered to give the passengers information, so it is unclear why. Dad realised it was going to be tight with the last ferry. On-board personnel assured him he would make it.

The next train, the local one, however, suddenly decided to have 30 minutes of delay, as well! The train personnel and an English lady — who spoke fluent French — realised it would be impossible to get my dad on that last ferry. Dad already resigned to the idea having to look for a local hotel, in a country where he didn’t speak much of the language. Maybe these people could help him find a hotel?

The train personnel called their head office, while the English lady translated. No, there would be no compensation possible, because he was going to arrive at the station and it was not their problem he will miss his ferry. The train personnel and the lady, however, both didn’t accept that answer of the head office. Some fast and “wild” French was spoken. Suddenly, the train conductor and the English lady came to my dad.

The lady explained that they would be reaching a town within a few minutes. He would have to get off there, but they had arranged a taxi, free of charge.

My dad realised that this town was about two hours away, but the lady told him not to worry, and that he’d make it.

At the town, my dad was all but thrown off the train and into the taxi. The car left immediately. Dad checked the speed of the car, and after the fourth traffic law was broken, he decided to pray that the insane driving of the taxi driver wouldn’t cause an accident.

When they reached the town of the ferry, they saw a lot of local cars in a jam. The taxi driver said they all had to get on the ferry, so not to worry! He passed them all and dropped off my dad as close as he could get, which was all but inside the ticket office.

The taxi driver helped get my dad his things, and they hurried to the ticket office. My dad didn’t have the time to properly thank the taxi driver. The ticket office employee told my dad he had made it with ten minutes to spare!

The employee also told him that because of the many people who still needed to take a ferry, they’d only just decided they would put in an extra ferry. So, even if my dad had missed the ferry, he would still have been able to go to my mom.

My dad messaged my mom, and she hopped into the car and hurried to the ferry own — without speeding and breaking laws. My dad arrived 30 minutes before she did. They were now reunited.

Dad did manage to push out thank-yous to the people who helped him, even though they were hurried ones. Thanks to the train personnel who wouldn’t take “no” from their bosses, the English lady, and the taxi driver, my dad safely reached his destination.

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