We wrapped up our Lessons from the Road series a few days ago, but on the first day of our trip to Europe, something happened that reminded us of another important lesson.
Our Riding the Rails experience began right off the plane when we landed in Denmark. We took the train from the airport to Copenhagen central station, and luckily, the trip was uneventful. Well, except for one incident.
Terri and I were standing on the platform when a confused, jet-lagged, and bewildered teenager walked up and asked me – ME of all people – for directions! A 9-hour, overnight, transatlantic flight puts me at about 9.5 on the “jet lag meter,” so I might not be the best person for guidance.
“Sir, can you tell me how to get to Lund?” (That’s Lund, Sweden – not Denmark!) And wonder of wonders, I knew the answer. His relief was palpable. He went back to his luggage, plopped down, and when the train arrived he dragged his gear onboard.
My first trip abroad is forever etched in my mind, and I snapped this photo as a reminder of those days. As a traveler, there have been so many times that I relied (and still rely) on the kindness of strangers. Time and again, I got the help I needed. We live in troubled times, but in my experience, most people are friendly, helpful, and trusting. I hope this kid got to Lund, but if he didn’t, I’m sure that someone else helped him along.
Travel, by definition, puts us in unfamiliar places and situations. I always remember, appreciate, and never take for granted, those strangers that helped me along.
Travel (and sometimes life) is hard enough. If you have the chance, be a kind stranger.