He was traveling to America with the goal of earning money to send back to his family in India. The young man would do computer work in Kansas City, but first he was traveling to Chicago – by train – to meet a friend of the family. The traveler’s name was Rashid.
The train ride started in Los Angeles and everything went well until one o’clock Monday morning when they reached the Kansas mid-point. Rashid wasn’t feeling well. He had a dry cough, a low grade fever, and lips that looked like the flaking bark of a sycamore tree.
For some reason the train’s medic diagnosed Rashid’s condition as serious and ordered his immediate removal from the train. Up ahead was the little town of St. John with a train station that was long ago closed. This was where they would stop. Ambulance medics Misty and Lori gave Rashid a short ambulance ride to Stafford County Hospital where the doctor diagnosed a simple virus.
Afterwards, Rashid walked across the street to the town’s only hotel without knowing how he would get to Chicago. There are no buses in Stafford County. There are no taxis in Stafford County. And the train only does drop offs in Stafford County, no pick-ups. But, Stafford County cares for people. Rashid was picked up and taken to a resident’s home for lunch, then given a ride to the Hutchinson train station.
A little over a year ago another sick train rider and his spouse was dropped off the train in Stafford County. They were later given a ride to Wichita to catch a flight home. That one was Christmas Day – this one was simply the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Mangalore.
Rural America comes through again.