My son, daughter-in-law, and seven month old grandson Uri got on the Amtrak train at 8 pm last night, for the 18 hour ride to New York City. They’d spent a week with her family and had opted to take the train. It was cheaper than flying and they thought would be more comfortable for them and the baby.
The trip down last week was uneventful. I received this text:
“Uri slept the whole night at our feet very happily. We watched him awake, all night… There’s a lot of room to improve Amtrak but all in all this has been an efficient way to travel and a relatively easy trip.”
They had a wonderful week and boarded last night. All seemed to be going well.
“Uri is asleep now, train came exactly on schedule and they gave us reserved seats to make sure we were together. It’s totally packed and a lot of people from New Orleans got off in Atlanta. Overall its very well organized, we positioned Uri differently so hopefully we’ll sleep this time too. We arrive in NY around 2pm tomorrow. “
And more commentary:
“This is really quite an American experience as everybody talks to each other on long distance Amtrak in a way that doesn’t happen on a plane. Of course they all admire Uri. The cross-section of Americans that are on this train is incredibly diverse and interesting since it hits all the major cities between New York and New Orleans. I think the pressure of oil prices must have something to do with it as well since its forcing people to consider Amtrak over flying and driving. Mom you could write a cool blog about it.”
I responded that I couldn’t really write about it unless I experienced it.
Which I did when I received this text this morning from my daughter-in-law:
“Interesting end to our trip…. Woman tried to punch my face in bcs Uri was crying and they had the police come on and arrest her.”
I was a wreck. They didn’t answer their phones. I posted on Facebook. Finally about two hours later, when they were waiting for their luggage at NYC’s Penn Station, I got the details.
The train was full. The woman sitting across the aisle from them announced to everyone around her that she was bipolar and proceeded to take medications, drinking from a flask.
She cooed a bit at Uri, saying she had six kids, all grown. She put on her headphones and listened to music, quite loudly, all night long. Many passengers, including my son, asked her to turn down the music.
For whatever reason, Uri didn’t sleep and by the morning, was crying. And crying.
A lot. Babies do that sometimes.
This woman, now tired, wanted to sleep and became agitated. She stood, made a fist, faced my daughter-in-law, and shouted, “I’m going to punch you in the face,” and tried to lunge at her. By then, other passengers had called the conductor, who escorted the woman to another car- they were somewhere in Northern Virginia. She was removed from the train in Washington, DC. The police came on board and interviewed my son.
Thankfully everyone was safe. My daughter-in-law, studying for a PhD in Psychology, can cite this real-life experience in her classes.
What’s worrying is the violence. In Newark, NJ, two toddlers were killed last week by boyfriends of the children’s mothers. One was shot, the other died of “blunt force trauma,” according to the Star-Ledger report.
Babies cry. Toddlers are demanding. A bottomless well of patience is required.
The woman on the train could have switched seats. Maybe Amtrak needs to designate a “family” car.
The young men in Newark need to understand about kids.
I shudder to think about the consequences if this woman was armed. Guns kill people; people don’t need guns.