As we travel in our Rv, our trips always include some sort of train activity. It is a given, a necessity for survival when your autistic son lives for all things train. As we plan our trips we include train rides or visits to train museums to ensure harmony along the way. These plans give us locations to see, and something for our son to look forward to, as he puts up with activities he might not otherwise enjoy.
In the small Northern California town of Dunsmuir, there is a small Amtrak stop, and the Union Pacific yard. We happened to be camping in the area and decided to go to Dunsmuir for lunch and to watch for whatever train might arrive. Andrew brought his small video camera so he could film the trains.
We parked nearby and headed toward the Amtrak stop. Looking at the schedule, we found that we would not be seeing Amtrak – it makes its pass through town very early morning. Andrew knew, however, that other trains travel this route all during the day so it was only a matter of time. As he set up his video camera we noticed some workers on the other side of the track. We didn’t have long to wait before the horn of a train could be heard, and the shout from Andrew “here it comes!”
Pulling in to the station was a Union Pacific train. The train pulled in slowly and stopped at the small station. As we watched, the 2 workers we had seen on the other side of the track picked up their bags and headed to the cab. At the same time, the 2 workers that had just arrived on the train, grabbed their bags and climbed out. This was a simple crew change, exchange in a normal workday of some train employees. We didn’t speak to the workers but what came next was so kind- an act of generosity that reminds me there are great people out there.
The new crew climbed in the cab and suddenly one of them leaned out of the cab and called to Andrew to come closer. Andrew walked closer, and the employee opened the side cab door and leaned out, handed him a lantern! As he handed it to Andrew, he claimed he didn’t need it anymore. Just like that, this man gave a boy something he always wanted. As quickly as he came out of the cab he went back in, told Andrew to cover his ears, blew the train horn and they were off. Andrew calling for them to drive safely.
We watched as the train disappeared down the track, another day in the life of a train lover..