Archive for June 21st, 2008

From the Urban Planet Charlotte Forums

I gotta tell you guys what happened on the train this morning. It was the 7:52 train heading inbound. I got on at 485 and stood in the back. At I believe Archdale a man tried getting on the train with a shopping cart full of big boxes and some bags. The conductor got on the p/a and told the guy he couldn’t bring the cart onboard, so the guy started unloading these boxes from the cart and putting them on the train. We all watched in disbelief. There must’ve been 10 or more big boxes, maybe 10 small boxes, and some bags of something. As it turned out, the bigger boxes were cases of beer, the smaller boxes were cases of cigarettes, and the bags were full of raw shrimp. This guy planned to take these somewhere to sell them. It took him maybe 2-3 minutes to load everything on the train. We couldn’t believe it. Finally we started moving again and this guy stood there with his boxes, smiling and asking at least twice why everyone was in a bad mood and nobody was smiling. “It’s Friday,” he said, “cheer up and smile!”

So at New Bern he decided it was time to get off the train. Of course, New Bern’s stations are on the outside of the train, so he had to unload all of these boxes from the far side of the traincar. More than one fellow passenger helped him get his boxes out, for the sake of speeding up the process. When he was finally done he cheerfully thanked those that helped and asked if anyone wanted a beer on him. We all politely smiled and chuckled at what we thought was a joke…until he broke open a case of Budweiser, grabbed a bottle in each hand, and ran back to the open train door, offering the beer to anyone that would take it. At first everyone resisted but then people started taking the beer, probably just hoping it would help get rid of this guy quicker…BUT…he went back to the case of beer, grabbed a couple more, came back to the train, and offered them up. By the time he was done he had probably passed out 8 beers. He then ran to the next train door up, and did the same thing. Finally the conductor managed to close the doors, and as we pulled away from the station we could see this guy giving a couple of beers to some Pepsi employees, through the barbed wire fence. It was crazy. And there we were, all laughing and smiling about it, with a train full of people holding beers.

But I thought the funniest part of the whole thing was that there was this older woman not far from me on the train who was riding for the first time. She wasn’t even sure which stop was hers but she knew she had to get to BofA Corporate Center. As this whole crazy event unfolded she was asking “I’ve never been on here before…is it like this all the time???” Could you imagine something like this being your first impression of the light rail?


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