Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My own miracle story

Someone being nice to you is a miracle these days......Someone who is a complete stranger being nice to you is a bigger miracle these days......Someone who is a complete stranger in a foreign land being nice to you is the biggest miracle these days? The "don't trust strangers" refrain that we hear from our very young days in school probably makes it this way. But my story is a miracle because I felt it at that moment given my circumstances....so, let me rewind to the month of May this year when this happened.

Traveling with young kids is a big responsibility. You can't just up and go. You need to plan your day much better when you travel with kids....well, knowing me I would have planned anyway, but kids are a good excuse as any. So, we were in Paris this May and I had planned every day with great degree of "research". Which metro to take, how much distance to cover, which places to see and and in what order of priority, blah blah.....every minute detail or so I thought. www.rapt.info gives you all the info you need. And hey, everything worked to plan and we finished an exciting week in Paris.

This was the day to head back home. The flight out was at around ten in the morning. My "research" had revealed that from where we stayed it would be best if we boarded the train from Stade de France to reach Charles De Gaulle by 8.30 am or so. Well that would be much better than going back into town to board from Gard Du Nord, because I thought that was the longer route. I told my wife how my "research" had helped me find a new route that was much quicker and shorter and was really pleased with myself. But as luck would have it, when we reached Stade De France, the train station was deserted.....the information booth was closed....the ticketman was missing ........ I was forced to go to the ticket vending machine for us to get our tickets to the airport. The ticket vending machine was no rocket science..... I was confident of choosing the right ticket and getting my family safely on the train to the airport. I had used the machine earlier in the week and though I had some difficulty with it accepting my card, I was able to buy tickets with cash. Confidently I stepped up, chose the ticket options and the machine told me that I had to pay Euro 27. I pulled out two notes of Euro 20 each only to realize that the machine accepted coins or card.....no notes, please!! I had just emptied out my coins with the taxi driver...Not enough coins!! So, time to try the card. And as my worst fears came true, the machine refused to recognize the card. Not a person in sight...a deserted train station....not a cab in sight....middle of nowhere...two kids and four suitcases.....that is where my "research" had landed us. I was breaking into a sweat....my usually unflappable wife was getting worried too....that was a sign that I had really screwed up. I had a silent prayer on my lips.

Just as it seemed we were stuck in no man's land, I hear a voice...."Aap India se ho?"....."Are you from India?"....it sounded like Hindi, close to Hindi or was is some version of Hindi? Well, if it wasn't Hindi, I could still understand it. I turned to find a person appear out of nowhere. He had a grey shirt and an almost grey pant....he wore a cap and had a bag slinging across his body. He had South Asian features? I was just relieved to see someone in that place at that time. I explained my predicament, he swiped his card...it worked, bought us tickets...I had 2 notes of Euro 20 and some coins adding up to 5 Euro. I needed to pay him Euro 27, he plucked the Euro 25 out of my hand...said that was fine and rushed into the station. As he was stepping in, he turned back and shouted directions about which platform we should go for the train to the airport. Then, he disappeared into the station. Disappeared into an empty station? The station was now as deserted as it had been when we first reached here.

The good Samaritan who came out of nowhere.....I am not even sure I thanked him well enough, everything was a daze. I still owe him a big thank you...I owe him 2 Euro....but, he showed me that a good human being can be a miracle worker for some one else...This is certainly a miracle story for me and my family....Was it one man's goodness or was it something more? I'll never know, but I'll never forget too. This is my way of remembering my miracle man!! Thank you!!

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