Amtrak Leaves Behind Students on Thanksgiving Eve

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving with family and friends. I’ve been away from the computer for an entire week, although not away from my iphone, so I did take plenty of photographs of our West Coast travels which I will post in my next blog. But of course when you travel, not everything goes smoothly all the time. So we did have a little “drama”.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is a busy day for travel. My daughter Alex, a sophomore at CalPoly in San Luis Obispo, had purchased her Amtrak ticket online so as to meet us in Los Angeles. (We’d flown in Tuesday night). She got to the train station around 6:15 and got in line to procure her actual ticket from the scanning machine. But so did scores of other students. The long lines could not print out the tickets in time for the purchasers to have an actual ticket to board the train.
So what did Amtrak do at 6:40– five minutes before scheduled departure time? Instead of allowing the passengers with evidence of a purchased ticket to board the train, the conductor announced “You must have an actual ticket to board. The train is leaving in five minutes.” The result was pandemonium, according to Alex, with lots of pushing and shoving. It’s a surprise no one was injured. My daughter was one of approximately 30 people who had purchased tickets, but were unable to board the train.
Unlike the East Coast schedule, which has trains running north and south every hour, the next train was not due to arrive until 2:30 p.m. and the only available seats were business class ($35 more!)
So what happened? Well, fortunately one of the students with a purchased ticket had a car (actually a double cab pick-up truck) and with funds donated toward purchasing gas he drove my daughter and three other passengers down to Fullerton, on his way to Riverside. We met her at the train station there, and gave one of her classmates a ride to San Diego, which was where we were headed for the holiday. (So we were able to avert disaster for another family as well.) The good news was they actually arrived in Fullerton earlier than scheduled to reach Los Angeles, and we were a little closer to our destination. If Alex wasn’t fortunate enough to wangle a ride, well that would have been a disaster. The photo is of husband Peter at the Fullerton train station taken while we were waiting for Alex. All’s well that ends well.

Published by Nadja Maril

Nadja Maril is a communications professional who has over 10 years experience as a magazine editor. A writer and journalist, Maril is the author of several books including: "American Lighting 1840-1940", "Antique Lamp Buyer's Guide", "Me, Molly Midnight; the Artist's Cat", and "Runaway, Molly Midnight; the Artist's Cat". Her short stories and essays have been published in several small online journals including Lunch Ticket, Change Seven, Scarlet Leaf Review and Defunkt Magazine. She has an MFA in creative writing from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. Former Editor-in-Chief of What's Up ? Publishing, former Editor of Chesapeake Taste Magazine a regional lifestyle magazine based in Annapolis, and former Lighting Editor of Victorian Homes Magazine, Maril has written hundreds of newspaper and magazines articles on a variety of subjects..

3 thoughts on “Amtrak Leaves Behind Students on Thanksgiving Eve

    1. No time to complain when on vacation. I also forgot to mention that our return trip from New York City earlier in the month was delayed by 2.5 hours. So currently I’m not a big Amtrak fan. Which is a shame, because it would be better for the roads if more folks traveled by train.


  1. Wow! What a hectic trip for your poor daughter but, as u say, all’s well that ends well:)
    I can TOTALLY relate with the I-phone. It is my all when it comes to communication, as you could tell during my nervous breakdown over the back brace!:) which is still off I am proud to report! I am back at work full swing now but am very quick to ask for help even with the simplest task like picking a pencil up off the floor. I do not feel bad for asking for the help because you and I both know the wrath of an angry back.
    Take care in your travels and enjoy your family.
    Brian A. Wilson


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