This is our eighth trip to Eastern Europe since 2008 and, apart from gasping at near head-on collisions, I’ve never felt afraid. Until today, that is.
Passengers come and go on these trains. For several miles, two men in their 60s sat on the bench across from us. Theirs was an animated conversation until one turned his attention to me and began jabbering in Polish. His eyebrows shot up when I told him that I couldn’t understand because I spoke only English. He moved closer, grabbed my hand and kissed it.
I was okay with this display of Polish culture but squirmed inside when he began to squeeze my hand and pat my arm with his other hand. Then he leaned toward my face. All of this happened within a few seconds. A teenage boy in the next seat began translating what the man was saying, at which time Gene stood up and asked the man to back off.
The man responded by speaking louder and squeezing tighter. Gene repeated his request. The man turned up his volume and now leaned towards my husband. Visions of his punching Gene popped into my head. I shot up an arrow prayer for help.
At that exact moment, the conductor stepped into our train car. Understand that conductors routinely walk through the cars to ensure that all passengers have purchased tickets and aren’t freeloading. This conductor hadn’t set foot in this car for the past hour despite the train making numerous stops and collecting passengers along the way. His sudden appearance at that exact moment was nothing short of an immediate answer to prayer.
Without speaking a word, the conductor sized up the situation and took control. He pulled the man away from me and kicked him off the train when it stopped a few moments later. Everyone in the car heaved a sigh of relief. “I’m sorry,” said the conductor as he walked way.
“No problem,” I said, whispering a big thank-you to God under my breath. He showed up as my protector in the form of a train conductor – how awesome is that? While it was quite amazing to see Him answer prayer so quickly, I truly hope He won’t have to do it again!