Now Pulling Into Kindness Centraal

, , , | Hopeless | April 14, 2016

(I’m travelling to the Netherlands from England to see my girlfriend, which due to me being a student, involves flying from England to Brussels in Belgium, then getting a train from Brussels through to Utrecht in the Netherlands. I don’t speak any of the local languages, only knowing a few very basic Dutch phrases. I have never travelled alone before, and have been travelling for around 12 hours at this point. We pull up to a station where I can’t see the sign, but as my watch says we should be 10 minutes away from my destination I figure it’s nothing to worry about. While waiting at the platform an announcement is made, and the only two words I understand are “Utrecht Centraal”, the station I need. I panic, thinking it’s naming the station we’re at, and rush for the doors right as they close and the train starts moving. Having no idea what to do or where I am, I start blindly panicking, twisting and turning trying to see any signs that will let me know what to do, when I feel a hand on my shoulder. I turn to see a huge bearded man looming over me looking concerned.)

Man: *question in Dutch*

Me: “I’m sorry, I don’t understand. I’m English and I think I just missed my stop and I don’t know what to do and—”

Man: “Whoa, slow down there, buddy. What stop do you need?”

Me: “Utrecht Centraal, but I think we just went past it, and I don’t have any money for another ticket—”

Man: “No, no, that wasn’t Centraal; Centraal is the next stop. Here, sit down. You look like you’re about to collapse!”

(He leads me to a seat by the door.)

Man: “You must have had a long day, yeah?”

Me: “Urgh. I got up at 4 am this morning so I could get a plane I could afford to Brussels, then the train here, and I don’t think I’ve eaten since breakfast…”

Man: “You need to look after yourself better! Here, eat this.”

(He hands me a bottle of water and a chocolate bar, which I thank him for and wolf down.)

Man: “So, it’s a girl, yes? No man goes to all that trouble just for a holiday!”

(I admit that yes, it is, and spend the next few minutes talking to him about her and how we met. As we pull into Utrecht Centraal he gets off as well, and walks with me up to the concourse, where I see my girlfriend waiting. We wave to each other and the man pats me on the back again.)

Man: “She’s very pretty; I see why you were so upset about maybe missing her!”

(He then loudly said something in Dutch to my girlfriend and laughed uproariously as she blushed, then walked off, waving over his shoulder and still chuckling. She gave me a kiss on the cheek and told me it was because of what he said, but wouldn’t tell me what he said. Thank you, stranger, whoever you are – I’m pretty sure that’s the closest I’ve been to full blown panic attack, and you calmed me down almost instantly!)

1 Thumbs