Jumping Jean Saves The Day

Metro

This was beyond my belief this evening–it is a true story!

As I was getting off the train, my iPhone slipped out of the OtterBox clip on my belt and fell…but it didn’t just fall down, it fell at the precise moment that I was disembarking the train and it fell perfectly vertically right between the small space between the train and the platform. 

I couldn’t believe it–I don’t think I could drop it through that way myself even if I tried. 

Sure enough the phone is laying in the rock bed on the tracks. 

As the train pulled out, I was sure it was a goner, but apparently it survived not only the fall, but also the train running over it as it lay there.

A woman next to me, saw the whole thing unfold and she says to me after the train pulls out–“if you’re going to get it, you better hurry up and do it now!”

I must’ve looked completely astonished when she said that as I peered over to the signage that said the next train was arriving in literally 1 minute!

I looked around for someone from the Metro to help, but no one was there. 

Out of nowhere, a young man rushes forward and says, “I can get it” and before I know it–he jumps into the tracks with the train approaching.

He did it so fast, picked up the smartphone, and jumped back out onto the platform, all in the nick of time–I’ve never seen anything like it–it was completely amazing. 

I was in disbelief that anyone would do something so crazy as to jump in front of an oncoming train to get a dropped phone that didn’t even belong to them–simply to help a fellow human being. 

I tried to help grab him onto the platform, shook his hand, thanked him profusely, and offered him a reward–he refused to even take that. 

On the train we sat together, and he told me about how he came from Cameroon where he had little opportunity and was working two jobs here, including helping seniors and working at McDonalds. He told me how he liked to help people–and that was more than evident to everyone who witnessed this. 

In the end, the iPhone was still working and Jean strengthened my faith in good people still out there. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal from a prior Metro ride)

Why Orange?

So I made some new “friends” on the train home this evening.

These two Tibetan Buddhist Monks.

I asked about their amazing robes–“why orange?”

They said, they didn’t know why, but told me black, white, blue, and red were a no-no. 

They started to teach words from their language to another inquisitive fellow from New York riding on the train, and asking them how to say this and that.

They were laughing at his pronunciation.

As he was about to get off the train, he grabbed for their hands and gave them a good shake, and off he went.

I asked if I could take their picture and they smiled and immediately sort of sat up and posed.

At one point on the ride, the monk on the right pulls out a cell phone and starts talking away–the modern technology was sort of a funny contrast with their religious robes and serene nature.

Anyway, I loved this picture and wanted to share this experience.

Hope you enjoy!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Leading the Blind

Blind

Waiting for the train this morning–on the platform, there is a blind woman.

The train pulls up, and I help the blind lady to the train door, saying “it’s just to the right.”

The blind lady gets on and staggers herself over to where the seats usually are right next to the door, but on this model of the train, it is just an empty space.

She goes across the aisle to the other side to try and sit down, and reaches out with her arm, but ends up touching this other lady’s head.

But the other lady is quite comfortable in her seat and doesn’t flinch or budge.

The funny (read sad) thing about this is that there an empty seat on the inside right next to her–but she doesn’t move over, nor does she direct the blind lady to the empty seat next to her or anyplace else either.

Actually, the lady sitting all comfy–doesn’t say a word–to the contrary, she nudges the blind lady away from her seat.

The blind lady is left standing there–groping for somewhere to go.

As the train lurches forward–beginning to moving out of the station–the blind lady make a shuffled dash heading for the other side of the train to try to feel for another seat–and she begins to stumble.

I jump up from the other side and having no time, awkwardly just grab for her hand, so she does not fall.

The lady is startled and pulls back, and I explain that I am just trying to help her get safely to a seat.

I end up giving her my seat–it was just easier than trying to guide her to another vacant one, and she sits down.

I was glad that I was able to do something to assist–it was a nice way to start out the week–even if only in a small way.

But honestly, I also felt upset at the other lady, who so blatantly just disregarded the needs of the handicapped.

I do not understand the callousness–doesn’t she realize that a person with a disability or handicap could be any one of us–even her.

My mind starting racing about what I had heard from the pulpit about sins of omission and commission, and I know I shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t help sort of staring at the lady who was all smug–wondering again and again about who she was, what was she thinking (or not), and basically is that what most people would do.

I watch other people help each other every day, and I’ve got to believe inside that most people are better than that.

(Source Photo: adapted from herewith attribution to Neils Photography)

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

Tractors_on_the_train

This is a photo I took at Harpers Ferry.

There was a train coming by pretty fast, and on the flatbeds were what seemed like a endless line of Tractors.

— Red, red, red, red, blue, and then red again.

I hurried to get my iPhone out and capture this photo while the train was rushing by at full speed.

I love this shot, because it teaches an important lesson about diversity.

Firstly, it reminds me of the children’s song, “One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn’t belong.”

From early in life, we are taught to conform a certain way–based on norms, culture, values, policies, rules, regulations, laws, religion, and so on.

There always seems to be a reason that we have to talk, dress, think, and conduct ourselves–properly, politically-correct, and just like everyone else.

And we are warned that “the nail that sticks out, gets hammered down”–so don’t do it–it’s too risky–you’ll be labeled bad or worse yet, crazy.

So while creativity and innovation is valued if it can bring someone a nice profit, we are still cautioned not to go out too far on a limb or else you risk getting ridiculed and rejected–hey “you may never work again in this town.”

But in this picture, the tractors tell a different story–that it’s okay to be a blue tractor in a long parade of red ones.

No, the blue tractor wasn’t a mistake, it isn’t abnormal or alien or evil, it’s just different and it’s cool.

The blue tractor stands out, but it isn’t a bad thing to stand out–and the blue tractor won’t get hammered down.

It’s okay to be a blue tractor in a long procession of red tractors–and it’s great to just be who you are–blue, red, yellow, green, or whatever.

Conformity is not normalcy–it’s just look-alike, copycat, and probably even boring.

Being different can be novel, inventive, out-of-the-box and exciting–and more important it can usher in needed change.

I think we need more blue tractors in a red tractor world.

Will you take a chance and be a blue tractor too?

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

“Plastered” On The Metro

Metro

The Washington D.C. area Metro has been so bad this week…

Fires, delays, overcrowding, doors not closing, people screaming, trains being unloaded and taken out of service.

Today, the trains were so packed, this one guy (pictured) was literally “plastered” up against the glass, practically holding on for dear life.

Forget about any air conditioning, with the heat in the city reaching 96 degrees today, one train that I was on actually seemed to have the heat going.

The people were drenched in sweat, fanning themselves, trying to gulp in some air at the station stops, and generally praying the train didn’t get stuck in the tunnel to top it all off.

It is almost unbelievable that this the public transportation in The Capital of the United States of America!

Luckily, I met a friend on the train and at least had some good conversation and laughs to make the otherwise dismal ride go by faster.

This must be the week for crappy transportation for me–what did I do wrong?  😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)