A trip that normally takes one hour, I took me four. At the Rotterdam central station in the Netherlands, it was announced that the trains between Breda and Tilburg would not run for an hour and a half since one person jumped onto the tracks, again.
On the way, the fate changed and we stopped at Dordrecht, which is 20 kmts south from Rotterdam. The railway speaker announced:”Train to Breda” and the mass ran down the stairs to another platform. We got on, the train started and after 15 minutes left us in Lage Zwaluwe, the Dutch pampas. People took out their phones, looked for connections to other trains, called at work, home. The train controller bids farewell and the train returns. All stranded. Acting more sociable, I started asking people what they were seeing on the phones. No one answered me, just a one older lady. Together, we made a team. The rest were on their phones and lives.
Suddenly, a girl appeared warning that there was a bus, everyone were running, I looked for the lady. We went upstairs and drove for 20 minutes through the pampas looking at cows. We arrived in Breda and the massive chaos of people was even greater, as in addition to the suicide, two trains broke at the entrance of the station blocking the platforms. Everyone was running with their phones in different directions. A two meter tall blond man spoke to me and said: “I am Belgian. I am going to Tilburg University”, as if he knew I was going there as well and I had an idea of how to go on. Immediately he incorporated into the team, the lady, me and now him. The Belgian man was worried, but the day was sunny and we talked to each other. All three with different Dutch accents. The train was not moving, the announcement told us to change the platform again. The Belgian blindly trusted the actions of the lady and mine. We all ran three platforms. We got on a new train and it moved.
Once in Tilburg, people normally has to pass a check out zone to leave the station. The lady said goodbye to us kindly and wished us luck. The Belgian and I had one more bus to catch. When we faced the control, he could not pass, I grabbed him and we crossed it together with my card. It was another 15 minutes on the bus and we were there. We walked, we talked about what he does and what I do. And we said goodbye when we walked into the campus. It was an exhausting but much more enjoyable trip, without a phone.