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Train Of Thoughtfulness

, , , , | Hopeless | July 26, 2016

(My best friend and I are from Germany. In April 2010 we visit Barcelona. Since we don’t really speak Spanish, we only find out on the day we are supposed to fly home that a volcano in Iceland has erupted and blocked all air traffic in Europe. In an attempt to find an alternative way home, we’ve come to the main railway station, only to find that the railway employees in France are on strike, so no trains from Spain will go anywhere.)

Friend: “I’ll go check with the car rental services over there. Can you stay here and watch the suitcases?”

(While he walks off, I notice a group of young people next to where I’m sitting, who are talking to each other in Schwiizerdütsch, a dialect spoken in Switzerland. A slightly older woman comes to them, says something I don’t understand, and they all start cheering and looking relieved. Knowing that most Swiss people understand German, I try my luck:)

Me: *in German* “Hi! You’re from Switzerland, aren’t you? Have you found a way to get home?”

Girl: “Yes, we’re on a student exchange. Our teacher has called a coach company in Bern, and they’re sending a coach to take us home.”

Me: “If you have some seats available, do you think it would be possible for my friend and me to come with you?”

Girl: “I don’t know. But you can ask our teacher…”

(She introduced me to her teacher, who not only said it was okay, but who called the coach company again and asked them to send the biggest coach they had. Soon after she had her students walk through the crowded waiting area and announce that they were going to Switzerland and had seats available for other travellers. On top of that she even organized a coach transfer from Bern to three cities in southern Germany, from where we were able to catch trains home. I tried to contact her through her school afterwards and sent her a thank you note, but I never got a reply. If you read this, awesome Swiss teacher: You are still my hero!)

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