Solo Train Rides for Teens-?
Our oldest son was 18 years old last summer (almost 19) when we sent him on a train to NYC, where he was gathering with other teens to take a van to upstate NY to serve as a camp counselor for a month. He had flown to NYC the summer before, at age 17, running around the city with a heritage group which was well-supervised, taking the subway and exploring every nook and cranny of the city.
One year later, he turned 20 and hoped to visit a friend from his camp counseling days. Her family, very similar to ours, was inviting him to visit on the occasion of her 21st birthday. Sounded great. I was in touch with her mother and all systems were go.
Rising at 3:00 a.m., our family would be enroute between our two homes anyway. Dropping him off at the train station would be no big deal. He had bought his own ticket online, rather pricey, but Petya was working and going to school, so he could swing it.
By 5:00 a.m., I walked with him to the gate where travelers were gathering. We had to bystep a few homeless people in the main lobby, one of whom claimed he knew me, lol. Him and the rest of humanity. Today, I didn’t have time. Soon enough, he attached himself to a businessman bound for another train.
All went well, I left, Petya texted as he climbed aboard. It concerned me that about a dozen police cruisers gathered outside the station. Possible terrorism or anti-Trump protests. Everyone was on high alert. But we had prayed and Petya was pretty alert for a 20-year-old. What could go wrong? Weren’t college students old enough to travel on their own?
Enter: Penn Station in NYC. We receive a text. The transfer train was late and our
son would be delayed by 12 hours and 45 minutes.
He would miss his appointment with his friend to visit her Russian class, invited by her professor.
“Do something,” I text back. “Ask for another route.”
“I’m second in line.”
Turns out the 12 hour delay was a typo, it was only 45 minutes. We walked him through the delay and all was well. Relief.
This was an older sister who also worked and went to school. His friend would already be at university, taking two majors and working two jobs. The older sister would drop him on campus, just in time for Russian class.
“Got it covered. All is well,” he sent back.
“Have you eaten?” I inquired about the sandwich we had sent with him for the stretch between 5:00 am and arrival around 12:30.
“Yes, thanks, yum!” came the enthusiastic reply.
Last time he was in NYC, he visited his favorite mac’n’cheese place, buying a small bowl for $17.50. On a student’s budget, we tried to make it easier for him. Plus, we didn’t want him to leave the station with only an hour between trains. I suggested he grab a bagel and coffee before leaving the next station.
He arrived about 45 minutes late, so much for trains making up time for any delays. Petya took a selfie with the sister, both relieved to find each other. Their smiling faces reassured me.
It was a good family, speaking English, Russian and Hebrew, full of faith, obedient kids who had been homeschooled and all ended up in college, parents with advanced degrees, fun, family-oriented.
Be still, my heart.
Was this a girl-friend or a girlfriend? To be continued….
————-Tags: delays at Penn Station in NYC, mishaps at the train station, son going to visit girl's family, terrorism threats at the train station, train travel for college students, train travel for teens & twenties?, what could go wrong on the train?