Those who have travelled with us know that our mantra is “nobody gets left behind.” Well, not until today.
It’s lunchtime and we’ve just touched down again at our old friend YVR (Vancouver International). By mutual agreement, we’re making our own way to Surrey, where we’ll meet up with the family and start our first ever Canadian Christmas visit. No problem. We’ve been through this terminal so many times that they know us by name, so what could possibly go wrong?
Ok, so there was the little issue when the new electronic arrival system reckoned it just wasn’t able to recognise one of us, but the border guy didn’t seem that worried – or did he? Oh, and then there was that mysterious thing with a “loading problem” that delayed delivery of our luggage but hey, what’s half an hour standing in a nervous crowd of about three hundred people, all trying to subtly manoeuvre themselves close to the chute where we hope our bags will eventually appear. Anyways, we finally make it through the “Arrivals” door and burst forth into the brisk air of Canadian December.
Cross the street, spurn the elevator because old hands like us can easily negotiate an escalator with just a couple of medium suitcases and some carry-on, and we’re at the Skytrain station. Ah, that’s right, we need to get tickets from the automatic machine. There’s a bit of confusion until we remember that tickets to all stations cost the same on the weekend, but we soon sort it out. I feel extra smug when I need to help the couple behind us work the system – “No, there’s two of you so you need two tickets. Oh, don’t worry, it’s the same price everywhere on the weekend.” I feel even smugger (hey, that’s really a word!) when they sheepishly announce that they’re locals, but they’ve never used the Skytrain before.
Now, all we need to do is tap our tickets at the turnstiles, walk through to the platform, and board the train which, the train which – was just there! With a shock, I see the train is closing its doors ready to depart – which wouldn’t normally be a problem – except – Nanette has pushed ahead and has just managed to leap into the carriage. Just like in the soppy movies, we have one of those special moments – Nanette waving sadly through the window of the train as it speeds off into the distance – me standing on the platform.
What to do, what to do? Aha! We both have our phones. I can call her to arrange a meeting spot. Ring, ring. Ring, ring. No answer. A female voice behind me announces – “It’s probably on silent. I do that all the time.” I turn to see the local couple I had “helped” chuckling. They’ve seen the whole incident and are obviously enjoying the show. Then, my phone comes to life. It’s Nanette. “Sorry, my phone’s nearly flat. I’ve hopped off to wait for you at the next station. See you in a ……”
Epilogue. I duly collected Nanette, and we’ve just pulled into Waterfront station, where we need to change trains for Surrey. Me “where’s your ticket? We need to tap out through the turnstiles so we can cross to the other line.” Nanette “What ticket?” I have an uncharitable thought – maybe I can just tap my ticket, dash through and hide around the corner for a bit. Nah – nobody gets left behind!