Unsung Hero #291

The other day, Ellen and Mark Naftalin mistakenly took a train home from Grand Central that did not stop in Southport.

The conductor made an exception, and stopped the train there for them.

“He was so, so friendly,” she says. This small-town type of thing makes a big difference.”

She doesn’t know who the conductor was. I don’t know if what he did was “legal” or not.

Most passengers probably did not notice it at all.

But Ellen and her husband sure did.

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10 responses to “Unsung Hero #291

  1. Jack Backiel

    This is almost hard to believe!

  2. John Karrel

    The Naftalin story is wonderful.
    It’s true, many Metro-North conductors really do have the interests of riders in mind . . . especially when you show them a bit of courtesy, or just utter a simple “Good Morning”.

  3. John D McCarthy

    I had a conductor find my wallet on the train and he brought it to me the next day. That was pretty sweet.

  4. Patricia Blaufuss

    A friend, Paul Holland, was a conductor on Metro-North for many years. He wrote a humorous book about his adventures – My Life as a Rear End. Jim Cameron wrote a column on Paul when he retired 3 years ago: https://www.thehour.com/middletown/article/Metro-North-train-conductor-has-seen-it-all-15086110.php

  5. Fred Cantor

    I’m just glad to hear that Mark & Ellen weren’t dropped off at Willoughby.

    Seriously, the conductors typically seemed to be very friendly and willing to help out when I commuted on a regular basis 20 years ago.

  6. I commuted on Metro-North for more than 25 years, which a bit of math just told me is something like 14,000 hours. (There are only 8,760 hours in a year. I might have retired earlier if I had done that math sooner!) The conductors were consistently pretty good people who put up with a lot of nonsense but worked hard to treat people fairly. Management, on the other hand…

  7. Celeste Champagne

    Exceptional and thanks for the couple and “06880” for acknowledging it. No, this is not the usual practice but glad to know there is one in every group and this couple luckily found one.

  8. Joshua stein

    Conductors don’t operate trains. Engineers do. Wonder how many are still making $3-400k+/yr and how many are falling asleep while they are supposed to be operating the train . Can’t tell you how many times doors would open and there was no platform at Southport or Fairfield

  9. It is true that the engineer stopped the train but it was the conductor who went to him and asked. Then he came back with a key and just opened our door at Southport. We asked him if we could call his superiors and to give him a wonderful review and he said “nah, they won’t care.” I took that to mean maybe he didn’t want to open a can of worms. But I will remember him next time. We always treat the conductors and engineer with great respect. As for not platforming in Southport, it’s one of a few stations where you have to move forward to the third car when you get on at GC. I’ve been taking the train into NY since the 50s when I was a little girl and went to the Pan Am Building with my dad. Something very comforting for me.

  10. Ellen Dale Naftalin

    Fred Cantor, I was thinking about that when the door opened onto a very bucolic, dark, Southport station.