I Missed My Amtrak Train Twice in 4 Days

My friends still make fun of me for this. I was supposed to catch a 7:00PM train to Chicago on Wednesday for a 3 day conference that started Thursday morning.

A much more effective method upon reflection.

6:30 PM: I can squeeze it all in, I thought. It takes 15 minutes to get to the terminal from work.
6:31 PM: Someone called in work and requested me specifically to help them. Shit.
6:45 PM: Dragged my baggage into the client’s classroom. Tried to fix the issue and couldn’t concentrate. Each tick of the clock jab my heart.
6:50 PM: Gave up on fixing the issue and apologized to client. Ran to the bus stop. I’m not gonna make it.
7:00 PM: Hallelujah! A train delay text. Maybe I can make it.


The glimmer of hope shone bright, ignited a fire that burned throughout the whole bus ride to the station. I was so nervous and focused on the front of the bus, I didn’t even notice my ex was standing next to me until he poked my shoulder. One polite conversation later, I bounded up the stairs to the departures station, past the automatic doors– only to see the train beginning to leave, the sound of its engine whirring.

“Is this the train to Chicago?” I asked a man on his way out. He sympathetically confirmed as if my child had died during combat. Back into the station. I couldn’t find another way there– talking to Amtrak, Greyhound, Googling in a frenzy– and finally settled with an early morning train, after the comfort from a glass of wine and good conversation. The conference itself was excellent, everything was smooth sailing, until the way back.

I made friends!

I had a 4:00PM return train. Determined to not miss anything again, I took a seat near the departing gate at 3:45PM. I got a drink out the vending machine and it unexpectedly spit out the coins across the carpet. Why would you engineer it with that amount of force? It felt like forever…

30 minutes later, I asked a conductor what was going on, only to find the train had departed on-time at 4:00PM.

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How the hell did I miss the train? I thought as I paid for the costly 8:00PM ticket. I had been sitting behind a pillar and didn’t see the line of boarding passengers. That, and I didn’t sit near enough to the gate to hear the boarding announcement (but more than likely, I am deaf). I crawled into a nearby Starbucks, sat in the corner, and waded in a pool of bummed out-ness and did homework for 2 hours.

The train shame was real.

6 thoughts on “I Missed My Amtrak Train Twice in 4 Days


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