28.07.2016 – The day we felt humbled!
Main Characters: Kunal, Kedar, Siddhant, Me, and the American guy.
7:30 – 9:00 PM:
We dined over smoked chicken curry. Oh! It was delicious. I can still virtually taste it. Apart from Kedar, who is a vegetarian, the three of us enjoyed the appetizing dinner.
We were ready to leave. Kunal, my friend, had to catch his bus to Erlangen at 10:15 PM. So, my friends, Siddhant and Kedar, and I accompanied Kunal till the Omnibusbahnhof (the bus station). We walked all the way for exactly 25 minutes, still debating on whose guess was correct. Sid had said ’20’ and Kedar ’30’. Well, it was a tie at the end.
The bus was waiting for Kunal. He was the last one to board the bus, it seemed. But there was a problem. No, no… it wasn’t with Kunal or his ticket. He got into the bus at 10:14 PM. Usually, Germans are very punctual and it is the same case with the buses too. But, today, something was different. There was an American guy, who couldn’t understand German, standing next to one of the bus officials. There were some other people too. But no one understood English quite well. A couple stood nearby, trying to help the guy but couldn’t. The bus official was trying to contact the main office and get the required information about the American guy. But, he was speaking in German and the guy wanted information in English. We wanted to help. So, Sid intervened, “Is there any problem?” He asked with concern. The guy told us about him being careless and missing his bus with all his belongings in it. We translated what the bus official said in order to help him. But things weren’t very easy. First of all, there was very less time since the bus had to leave and it was already 10:18 PM. So the official gave him a card of his company along with the number that he could call for help.
There was a couple that was standing next to the bus official. Even they couldn’t understand much English. But the guy tried to help by offering the American guy a can of soft drink which he obviously didn’t reject. Then, as the bus officials informed that they would leave, the guy kissed his girlfriend goodbye and boarded the bus wishing the American guy good luck. The bus drove away. All that was left was the phone number of the main office. The German girl tried to help us help the guy by offering to talk to the main office in German (as we wouldn’t have been very good with the explanation). But there was no connection. All lines were busy. Five minutes later, we figured out that they also had an option for English speakers. It connected finally. But there was no end to the music that made us wait. Meanwhile, Sid and Kedar were suggesting him new ideas which even included dining with us ;).
The main problem:
The American guy was here on a vacation – a tour of some parts of Europe. He had earlier been to Italy and some other places. Even there, he had missed his flight from Rome to some other city because they told him that the flight would be late and he waited until he missed it. He had lost his luggage in between. But he bought new clothes and wasn’t worried about the lost luggage, he told us. Then, he had come to Munich in Germany. Finally, he was travelling from Munich to Berlin with a change in Dresden. But before he would reach Dresden, he got out for (perhaps, more than) five minutes at some place. The driver had told him that the bus would only stop for 5 minutes. As I told you earlier, Germans are strict with their timing. To the American guy, it wasn’t more than five minutes that he had gone out, but by the time he returned, the bus had already left. His luggage was in the bus. Most importantly, his phone was in his bag. The bus that he was on was not only going to Dresden but further beyond. This was the problem. He wanted his bag back. The bus officials had told that the bus would be back in Dresden at 5 in the morning the next day. But, the guy had a flight to catch from Berlin at 7 AM. It takes almost three hours to travel from Dresden to Berlin. We were trying to call the main office just to know if they could leave his luggage at Dresden while the bus was on the way. But, sadly, we couldn’t talk to them. The line got connected but we never heard their voice.
Another bus arrived. It was heading to Dresden. A fat, lady driver stepped out and helped the passengers get their luggage back. We asked the German girl with us to ask the lady if she could help the guy. At first, she rejected saying that there weren’t enough details about the guy’s journey (his ticket number and the bus number, to be specific). She was in a hurry. But when we told her that the guy needed to go to Dresden, she asked him to hop in. We were happy. We didn’t know what he would do after reaching Dresden but we were happy that we could figure out one part of the puzzle. Happily, the guy shook his hands with all of us and boarded in. We thanked the lady driver too. She smilingly said, “Ich habe ein großes Herz” which means “I have a big heart”. We smiled on that. Yes she had a big heart. The German girl replied “Gott sei Dank” which means “Thank God”. We smiled once again. We were happy and glad that we had helped someone. He waved his hands with a beaming smile at us. We did the same. The bus left. We wished the girl a good night and she did the same. We were all smiles. Carrying lovely smiles upon our faces, we walked back home.