Friday, December 7, 2012

Swedish trains and lost luggage

When you take the train a lot, you forget things now and then. Hell, even if you take the train occasionally you may forget something (my dear brother, I am talking to you!). The Swede and I both regularly commute by train, and yes it has happened to us.

But this morning was a major catastrophe. The Swede left his workbag on the commuter train. Bye-bye laptop, meeting notes and everything else important (except maybe for a wallet). He didn’t notice until he reached his office.


But while running back to the station his phone rang. Someone found his business card in the bag and was on the train heading back to his stop. Could he pick up his back in 30 minutes? Of course.

Breathe again.

And this is generally how things go in Sweden. Last month I found a wallet at the train station. The name in the wallet was rather uncommon so I called information and called the person. They were at three train stops in the direction I was heading. Could we have a hand-off when I got there? Of course. Done.

My brother’s bag? No phone call. But we did pick it up at the train station lost and found – which has stupid opening hours (Between like 12-2 on Tuesdays and Thursdays) and cost a nominal fee. But everything, including ipod (it was back in the day) was still there.

So Swedes and lost luggage are pretty good souls. The only thing I ever lost for good was a package of cookies when I left a shopping bag full of cat food and cookies on a bus. I got the cat food back.

I don’t know how this would play out in NYC. Or leaving a bag on NJ Transit.

When I forgot a bag in London it was immediately confiscated by a bomb safety squad (also at the train station this time) but I had contact info in my bag and a travel itinerary, so when I got off the train at my destination someone had my name on a sign and informed me the police in London had my bag. (Thank gawd – it had my passport!)

But nothing beat the German train service when we forgot Little Swede’s suitcase on a train – not too major, it was just filled with a few small toys and books – but still stressful. We noticed when we got up from the platform that it wasn’t there. We ran back to the train, it wasn’t there. A cleaner told us to go to lost and found. Somehow during the 8 minutes we went from platform up and down and up again the German train service had brought the suitcase to the Lost and Found and registered it. They handed it right back. Yay for German efficiency.

But the moral of the story is – don’t forget your damn luggage! But there are good people out there and they probably won’t steal your crap.

1 comment:

  1. Oooo, this would never, ever happen with NYC MTA!

    (Hi! Just found you by searching around for expat blogs—I'm an American living in NYC with my Italian/Swedish husband and we're considering moving back to the EU next year–specifically to Stockholm, so I'm starting my cultural immersion now ;). Am so enjoying reading through your archives! It's like a crash course!).