Today, I made lemonade.


My day started off pretty crappy. I was headed to work only to find that my car wouldn’t start. Not even a little bit. I’ve been needing an oil change but money has been tight which has made easy for me to keep putting it off. The absolute worse scenarios started running through my mind. I was convinced that my procrastination has done irreparable damage or, at the very least, enough damage to cost a small fortune to fix.

I called my mom crying and began the 1/2 mile hike to the nearest train station aggravated that my day wasn’t going as planned.  It was blistering hot and I’d have to make a transfer. Why does everything have to happen to me! (OK. I’m being a bit dramatic, I know.)  By the time I got on my first train I had composed myself and accepted my fate. When I sat down there was a folded up piece of paper on the seat next to me. It didn’t seem to belong to anyone so I picked it up. Inside was a picture drawn by a child with the caption that read “Me and my suster we play outside with my frend.” It made me smile.


There were two women across from me with a little boy. It seemed to be his first time on the train and he was amazed by everything he saw from his window. I began to think that having to take the train wasn’t so bad.

On the second train I began a lengthy conversation with the older gentleman next to me. He was headed to work and while we started off with casual banter about the weather, things became more meaningful. He told me about how his dad was killed in Vietnam when he was a kid and his mother had to take on the role of both parents. She passed away in October at the age of 83 and it has been hard of him. Unfortunately, I can now relate to the pain of losing a parent and we both agreed that no age is ideal to lose someone so special. I loved making such a connection with this stranger and wished him  a great day as I departed.

Aside from my pleasant conversation with a stranger, I saw a young man who give his seat up to an older lady and the couple sitting next to me were radiating love as they held hands and laughed at each other’s jokes. I was beginning to wonder why I didn’t take the train more often. For me, It was a great reminder of the humanity that still exists in a country that seems to be moving away from its founding values.

On the train platform I noticed an elderly women who didn’t speak much english trying to get directions from the conductor. They both seemed frustrated so I offered to help so that the train could get moving. The lady showed me a screenshot on her phone of a nearby Senior Center. I put the address into my Google Maps and walked her to the front door. She was so grateful to have someone go the extra mile and I was happy to make her day just a little bit easier.

I used to take the train every day in college but quit when it was no longer my most convenient option. However, my day was so enriched by the happenstance that I encountered. I learned a lesson today and think I’ll be taking public transportation more often.

Published by Ashley Zoerner

I'm originally from New Orleans, LA and grew up in the nearby town of Waveland, MS. I graduated from Georgia State University with a communications degree in 2010. Since then I've traveled the country and world meeting the most interesting people. My dream is to tell people's stories and share my passions with the world.

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