Failure is not an Option

Everyone loves war stories. Here is one of mine. I need a special diet, especially bread. So one Friday evening, I was taking the train home after buying a couple of custom made loafs of bread. In Dübendorf, I left the train and walked home.

About halfway home, I noticed that I had my head, my arms, my bag … but not my bread! ARGH! Stupid, stupid, stupid! I knew I should have stuffed them in my rucksack but didn’t because it was so full and … yeah … okay. My baker needs three days to make these breads so that meant about a week without any for me.

Arriving home, an idea struck me and I fired up the VBZ online service to find out where the train was and when the driver would make the next break. A few moments later, the SBB Train Police got a really strange call by me: “I need my bread. It’s in this train and can you please, please ask the driver to check if the white plastic bag with the bread is still there?”

The woman on the other end was surprised and promised to call me back.

Ten minutes can be sooo long.

From the timetable, I knew that my train would probably come through my town in about twenty minutes when I got the call. Yes, they found it and the driver would take the plastic bag into his cabin and she told me where to wait on the platform so he could hand it over.

Try train was on time (as usual), the driver handed me my bag (and it really was mine and all the bread was still there) and I was really relieved. After thanking him, I went home to have my dinner. Thanks to the SBB train police, a train driver and an unknown person who put my bread in the overhead compartment when I left it behind, I didn’t go hungry that weekend.

Lesson: If all seems lost, take a step back, do something else and you might have the idea which will save the day.

Train related joke: The SBB (Schweizer Bundesbahn – Swiss federation train company) and the German Bundesbahn (the counterpart of the SBB in Germany) wanted to save some money and decided to buy the same information system to inform about arriving trains on the platform. After a longer evaluation, the plan was dropped. The SBB needed signs which said “Train is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 minutes late” and the German Bundesbahn needed “Train is half an hour, 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, 4 hours, Train Cancelled.”

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