Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What does Jewdar and a Federal Department have in common?

They both were relevant connection points on my morning train to NYC.

I am an avowed train and plane talker.

That probably comes as no surprise to you, of course.

Thing is, ALMOST every time I initiate a conversation on a train or plane, it pays off.

Today was no exception…two times.

As I boarded the train at BWI, my esteemed colleague and erstwhile running partner, Eric (follow him on twitter @emarterella) had saved me a seat. Settling in, I commented that my 3 day suitcase was overfilled because “at least 50% of it is running gear.”

This brought a smile to the face of the woman in the seat next to me. (Apparently, she had been forewarned that, well, I’m the gregarious type.)

Turns out, this federal government employee is a serious runner and, since that is a common component of Eric and my trip’s to NYC, she quickly became part of the group. So much so that we invited her to join us for a run the following night. And, it turns out, that we have a mutual friend in common who used to work at her Federal agency.

Seeing as she is an ultra-marathoner and really fast, we fully expect to be embarrassed, but hey, we’ll have aimage new friend.

As the journey moved along and we worked intermittently while chatting, the train unexpectedly filled up quite significantly as we rolled out of Philadelphia.

A middle-aged (but very young looking) woman boarded with her grown son and his wife.  As soon as I saw her, my well-tuned Jewdar was going off. I just knew…and I was right.

She took the seat next to Eric and we quickly began to kibitz. Soon, of course, we were watching a video of her son and new daughter-in-law’s weddings (it’s really beautiful, you should as well. Here you go.)

Even more, I learned that her father was the founder of a very worthwhile organization which I support, the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. So, needless to say, Ruth Schwalbe and I became fast friends and I promised I’d share the video of her handsome son and beautiful daughter-in-law (that would be Jason and Laura) who, I am sad to say, because of the full train were not able to sit next to each other.

But somehow they made it.

And, once again, the value of connecting with total strangers on the train proves itself a winner.

So, next time you’re on a train or a plane, start up a conversation with your seatmate…you never know where it might lead you! Winking smile

Laura + Jason from Utopia video productions on Vimeo.

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