Everyone has a story about riding the métro in Paris.
It’s convenient, efficient, and can get you all over the city. I’ve seen wonderful musicians playing on the trains and in the corridors. But it can be dirty and often smells. Sometimes passed-out drunks practically have entire cars to themselves as their stench wards people off. Four times I’ve witnessed, in the words of a friend here, “the infamous métro puppet show” that a certain guy puts on at the end of the car with his ratty puppets, a curtain held up with a bungee cord, and an ancient crackling boombox. I’ve even seen a guy grab a woman’s cell phone and make a run for it.
And then there was the crazy experience of not understanding the announcement from the driver, not realizing everyone had to get off, and before I knew it the train had left the station and pulled into a holding area to park! Fortunately I wasn’t the only unaware idiot and enough of us made enough of a racket, pounding on the doors, that the driver finally drove the train ahead to a platform to let us out.
But today, I share a different kind of métro story from my friend Samantha, another expat at my church here in Paris. A story of beauty. Of humanity. Of love. Here are her words:
I was riding the metro and watched as a blind woman was helped inside by another woman. Her stop was the same as mine and I watched again as the other woman told the blind woman when to get off and which direction to go for the connecting metro. I wanted to help her, but was held back by my lack of confidence in French. However, seconds later, I watched as an older gentleman walking the same direction asked the young blind woman if he could guide her to the next metro. They walked arm in arm the whole way there. The blind woman and myself got off at the same stop again. I considered trying to help her, but couldn’t remember any of the French words I needed to use. Sure enough, I watched another woman approach her and offer to guide her.
Watching this blind woman being passed from person to person was one of the most beautiful displays of love I’ve ever seen. There are a lot of bad things happening in our world right now, but there are a lot of really amazing things happening too.
I, for one, will miss the métro when we move back to Seattle.