EMY to GBB on the Zephyr.
The California Zephyr was a few minutes late leaving Emoryville but, start to finish, it was a good trip. As always, however, there were a few things that popped up and struck me as interesting and worth passing along.
For instance, I thought the car attendant in my sleeper—a woman of about 50—went about her duties rather grimly. And on both nights, as she took a brief break from converting seating in the various compartments into beds for the night, she delivered a pronouncement I had never heard before on all my overnight rides in an Amtrak sleeper.
She announced in almost scolding tones that she was tired, that she was going to bed, and we were to consider her unavailable until the morning. She said if any of us needed anything—if there should be any kind of health emergency, for instances—she was off duty and we should take our problem to one of the conductors.
I think to say I was shocked would be an exaggeration. But I was certainly surprised. Should I fall ill in the middle of the night, and my choices for some emergency assistance are (1) my car attendant, who is sleeping in roomette #1 across the aisle and about 10 feet from me, or (2) a conductor, who may or may not be on the lower level of the lounge car, which is on the other side of the dining car . . . well, yes, and I think I can safely say, So would you!
The following afternoon, I would leave the Zephyr at Galesburg, Illinois, and was standing with my suitcase in the lower level area by the door as the train began slowing, then came to a stop.
Karen came clattering down the stairs, opened the door, looked at me and said, “Galesburg”. I picked up my bag and stepped through the door without handing her the $20 bill I had in my pocket.
That lady needs to find another job.
Wow. You are right. She really needs to find a new job. And perhaps Amtrak should nudge her along.
You’re right of course; the lady is miscast for any kind of customer service work.
But even if she is miscast and has no empathy for the customers she’s supposed to serve, her labor union will defend anyway and will make it difficult for Amtrak to terminate her.
Thanks for passing this experience along. I hope you also passed it along directly to Amtrak.
Evidently one of my readers did . . . and I received a follow-up phonecall from Amtrak
thanking me for writing about the incident and saying that the matter had been turned over to the Train Manager. I want to post more about this in the next few days. There is more to the story.