A Ringside Seat For The Battle Of The Seat

| Sacramento, CA, USA | Bad Behavior, Tourists/Travel, Transportation

(I am on the train traveling from California to Colorado. A few minutes after I get on, the conductor announces that the train will be completely filled due to the holidays. Slips of paper are hung over the seats to indicate they are occupied, so travelers can go to the dining car or observation car and not have their seat taken. A few stops after I get on, when the train is not completely full yet, an older woman boards. A conductor helps her with her luggage. She immediately hones in on the only empty window seat left, which is directly across the aisle from me.)

Conductor: “Ma’am, you cannot sit there. That seat is already occupied.”

Lady: “I don’t see anyone sitting here.

Conductor: “They aren’t here now, but that paper shows the seat is reserved. And their stuff is on the seat.” *a plastic bag is hanging from the armrest near the window*

Lady: “Well, since they aren’t here, I’m going to sit here.”

Conductor: “Ma’am, you can’t do that. Someone already claimed that seat. You have to sit somewhere else.”

Lady: “I don’t want to sit somewhere else.”

Conductor: “But you can’t sit there.”

Lady: “But I picked this seat.”

Conductor: “Someone else already picked that seat. You need to pick another one.”

Lady: “I’m sitting here. I’ll just move whenever they get back.”

Conductor: “Fine.”

(About a half hour later, the man returns to his seat and finds it occupied.)

Man: “Ma’am, you’re in my seat.”

Lady: “This is my seat.”

Man: “No, it’s not. Those are my things. This is my seat. You need to move.”

Lady: “You weren’t here, so I sat here. You can sit somewhere else.”

Man: “No. This is my seat. You need to move.”

Lady: “I don’t want to move.”

Man: “That’s too bad. You’re in my seat.”

(By this point, I am struggling to contain laughter, incredulous at the woman’s behavior. I didn’t speak up at first because the man was clearly not cowed by the crazy lady’s behavior, but I finally decide he needs some help.)

Me: “Ma’am, the conductor told you that was someone’s seat. You told him that you would move when the person returned.”

(The crazy lady gives me an evil glare and humphs.)

Lady: “Well, FINE, then.”

(She makes a big show of struggling to stand up, when she had been clearly mobile before. The train is nearly full at this point, and there is not an empty seat in sight.)

Man: “Ma’am, the seat next to mine is empty if you want to sit there.”

Lady: “FINE.” *she continues to grumble under her breath*

(Several hours later, the man got up again and left for a while. When I glanced over again, the crazy lady was back in his seat, clearly looking smug. I went to sleep before he returned and his stop was at 5 am, before I woke up, so I didn’t get to see if there was another confrontation, but for the rest of the trip the crazy lady finally officially had her window seat.)

Some Decent Train-ing

| The Netherlands | Awesome Workers, Transportation

(I’m tired and it’s really late. I take the train home, only to hear that there’s a problem on my normal route and I’ll have take a different one. At this point I’m not in the best of moods, only made worse when I have to switch trains at a station I’m unfamiliar with and have trouble finding out where to go. The end result is that I rush down the stairs to the correct platform, just as the train has closed its doors and starts to leave. Due to the station layout I’m standing at the front of the train and can see the driver. To my utter surprise he seems to spot me as well, hits the brakes, and throws open the door to his cab.)

Driver: “You need to go to [Station]?”

Me: “Umm, yes. Yes, I do!”

Driver: “All right! Quickly, then! Come right this way!”

(He then allowed me to step into the cab and move to the body of the train from there. He saved me from having to wait in the cold, late at night, and seriously made my entire day. I gleefully tell people about the day someone stopped a train for me. I never did dare to send some sort of praise towards the train company, as I fear what he did was not officially allowed, but train driver, if you’re out there, thank you so much!)

First Class Has No Class

| France | Bad Behavior, Top, Tourists/Travel, Transportation

(A group of friends and I are just coming back from backpacking in southern France when our train breaks down. All passengers are advised to take another train; however, it is already full. As there is no more standing room in the second class, we head to the first class. We ask the ticket inspector if it is allowed. He says it’s fine. A group of businessmen in suits already seated in the first class seem to disagree and call the ticket inspector over.)

Businessman: “Excuse me? Could you please check the tickets of those youngsters? They don’t look like they would have tickets to the first class.”

Ticket Inspector: “They don’t indeed. However, second class is completely full.”

Businessman: “I understand that. However, I am paying your train company several thousands a year and for that, I expect a certain level of service. I am from Switzerland and own a large company myself! Those people only paid for one second class ticket and probably got it from a sale!”

Ticket Inspector: “Again, I apologise. They have paid for their ticket and they have a right to get to Paris, same as you.”

Businessman: “I will be calling your company to let them know about this situation!”

Ticket Inspector: “All right, then, sir. I will chase them out of this compartment. As there is no more space for standing, I will have to stop this train here. They will have to get off here and walk to the next town, and the train will be even more delayed. But at least you, the important businessman, will not have to be near those students. Is that what you want?”

(The businessman gets silent. The people he is travelling with are visibly uncomfortable.)

Ticket inspector: “If you wish to call and complain about me to the company, be my guest. Good bye, sir.”

(On his way out of the first class, the ticket inspector smiles and wishes us a pleasant trip. I only wish I could have bought this man a drink!)

Honest Conductor Versus Dishonest Conduct

| Boston, MA, USA | Liars & Scammers, Theme Of The Month, Transportation

(I’m riding the train when a passenger with a walker approaches the area where you pay. As she gets up the first stair, she trips, making a second passenger in front of her drop her wallet. I see the first passenger snatch up the money that falls from the second passenger’s wallet. She takes her seat and the other passenger confronts her.)

Passenger #2: “Excuse me, I think you have my money. There was $30 in my wallet before it fell, and now there’s none.”

Passenger #1: “Well this is all my money for my tickets and trains. It’s not yours.”

Passenger #2: “The conductor told me you grabbed it when it fell.”

Passenger #1: “Well that’s not true. IT’S MY MONEY!”

Me: “Then why is it folded differently than the rest of your money?”

(Passenger #1 finally gives up and gives back the money. The conductor even apologizes to Passenger #2 for the bad behavior of Passenger #1.)

A Child Who Knows How To Conduct Himself

| Norway | Family & Kids, Money, Tourists/Travel

(I am 12 years old. I am taking the train with my eight-year-old brother. After waiting for the conductor for about an hour without having paid, I get up and look for him. I find him somewhere down the train.)

Me: “My little brother and I have been riding this train for one hour without paying, and will soon arrive our destination.”

Conductor: “Okay, just find your seat again. I’ll be right there with you.”

(After about 10 minutes, he’s back with us. He takes a seat beside us, leans in, and starts talking.)

Conductor: “I’ve worked this train every day for 20 years. Every day I see kids your age trying to find ways to ride for free. So when you approached me, honest about wanting to pay for yourselves when I had forgotten, you made my day! I have decided to let you ride for free. You should keep the money. Tell your parents that it is yours now, because they raised you to be such honest and good kids, and buy yourselves something nice.”

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