As I'm cooking for Shabbat this past Friday, I get a phone call.
Voice on phone: "Hi! How are ya?" (Okay, I don't recognize the voice. Probably some telemarketer.)
Me: "I'm good! How are you?"
Voice on phone: "Good. Ah . . . I'm calling from the train. Someone left this cell phone here. I'm the conductor."
OH MY GOSH! MY SISTER LEFT HER CELL PHONE ON THE TRAIN!
Me: "Oh my! Well, that would be my sister's phone! Okay, let me think. Um . . . where is the train now?"
Voice on phone, whom I now know is the conductor: "We're going to ______." (The next stop after ours.)
Me: "Well, is there a lost and found or something that you can send the phone to?"
Conductor: "Yes, that's in New York. This train is going straight back to New York, and isn't stopping at [my stop] on the way back."
So I spend the next fifteen minutes on the phone with the conductor, trying to work out a way for us to get Pickle's phone back before Shabbat. I ask him if he can mail it to us but he says he won't get to a mailbox before Monday. Okay, scratch that. He suggests that we meet him on the same train on Wednesday - not good because:
1. She needs the phone before Wednesday
2. Nobody that I know will be on that train on Wednesday
Finally we decide that the conductor (his name is Anthony) will give the phone to another conductor (Wayne). After the train gets to Trenton, Wayne would be riding a train back to New York and would be stopping at our usual stop, and we could meet him on the platform and pick up the cell phone. Anthony tells me that Wayne is tall and bald, and will be in the second car of the train. I speak to Wayne for a few minutes (he has one of those molasses-moving, deep voices) and confirm that someone will meet him on the train platform as the train pulls into our stop.
So my sister arrives home about ten minutes later and I inform her that she forgot her cell phone on the train (she hadn't realized this). So she goes off to pick up her cell phone, but because she doesn't have one with her, I have no way to get in touch with her and am worrying and worrying whether or not she managed to make it to the train on time.
Finally, Pickle calls the house. "I got my baby!!"
Apparently Wayne was just where he said he would be, and he was very tall and very bald. My sister was so thankful that she gushed to him, "Wow, you guys are amazing!" and he looked sort of bemused.
Baruch Hashem, and thank G-d for conscientious and well-meaning train conductors. Anthony was thoughtful enough to pick up the cell phone, call the "home" contact and take pains to try and return the phone to its rightful owner. He could have simply dropped it in a lost and found and we never would have seen it again, or he could have left it on the seat and someone else would have stolen it. And thanks also to Wayne, who took responsibility for giving the phone back to my sister. They were both so nice and polite on the phone to me as well. I think I will write a letter to New Jersey Transit and tell them what happened, because these two men deserve recognition and thanks in writing.
Yay for Anthony and Wayne, and yay for New Jersey Transit for hiring these two responsible and dependable conductors.