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September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
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Train Nice

Living in Israel is often a study on kindness between people.
The Jerusalem light rail train, crossing the Chords Bridge near the Central Bus Station.

The Jerusalem light rail train, crossing the Chords Bridge near the Central Bus Station.
Photo Credit: Matanya

Living in Israel is often a study on kindness between people. There are little things that people do that cost them nothing, or cost them very little and yet they make that extra effort that results in someone feeling so good. I had two meetings today in the center of Jerusalem. It was silly to take the car and so I parked it at a park-and-ride lot near the train station.

As I walked to the train, pulling out my magnetic card – a woman handed me a one-ride ticket. In Jerusalem, when you pay for the train, the ticket is good for 90 minutes. During that time, you can hop on the train, hop off and grab a bus, likely even another one. She obviously was finished with her ride and heading back to her car but instead of tossing the card in the garbage, she handed it to the first person in her path…me.

I got on the train and rode it to my stop – for free.

Although that wasn’t the intention when they started it, and perhaps I am rationalizing, I don’t consider it stealing. Plus, months ago, I had gone on the light rail train with Aliza – and wanted to take that second ride after we’d stopped in the center of town for a few minutes on our way to the Old City. The first train dropped us off; we ran our quick errand and then waited more than 40 minutes for the train. It was raining; it was when the train first started and it was running very slowly. We saw four trains going in the opposite direction – the one in our direction only came 5 minutes AFTER the tickets had expired.

Considering that the trains were supposed to run every 10 minutes and taking into account the fact that there is only ONE train line, we were astounded that FOUR trains had gone one way and not one had returned.

So, today, I feel like maybe the train gave me back one of those tickets but more than that, yet again, a woman reached out to help a stranger. I truly love this city…

Originally published Sunday at the blog, A Soldier’s Mother.

About the Author: Visit Paula Stern's blog, A Soldier's Mother.


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