My brother and I pass time by playing war while waiting for the driver with someone they met in line.

NYC Port Authority

Around 5:30 in the afternoon, the winds were coming in hard, snowfall has stopped. The temperatures were dropping, we had to take the D train from the Bronx to 42nd street before the snow continues. There are about 5 to 7 inches of snow on the ground, getting to the stop on 170th street was quite an experience. Leaving the apartment from the Bronx, we stepped in these huge piles of snow that covered the sidewalks. There are only a few kids playing outside in the snow: having snowball fights, singing Happy Birthday to a loved one, and then tossing snow in their face.

We got onto the subway to 34th street to catch the bus since our flight was canceled. The next available flight we could take was next Tuesday so our only option was to take a Greyhound bus to Columbus, Ohio then transfer onto another bus to go to Detroit, Michigan which will take us 13 hours in total. We get to Penn Station and the first thing we look for is someone to help us get to where we need to go. We ask a woman at the desk and she says that we need to walk to 42nd street to get to the Greyhound. We had some dinner and then proceeded to the next station to where we need to take the bus. The temperatures dropped at this point, it felt like it was 0 degrees out. We arrive at the Port Authority station, and I notice some differences at this place. There is a lot of lower class or homeless people that are in the station. Many had plastic bags carrying their daily items. I see a lot of them bringing their blankets, pillows and using their loose change to buy a drink or a snack to eat, there were also a lot of people that were loud or talking to themselves and seemed not very mentally stable.

Our bus is supposed to depart at 10:15 pm., It is 9:30, so we decide to go to the gate and wait for the bus to come. At 10:30 pm the bus is not outside, some people in line start questioning why there is no bus. The information desk says that they are waiting for the driver to show up. Another hour goes by and the bus driver still hasn’t shown up yet and some people start getting a little bit upset. At the time, there was a group behind me of three individuals who are laughing and giggling. I take a glance backward and I see all of them holding Dunkin’ Donuts cups filled with ice and a dark yellow drink. I now smell the alcohol coming from their mouths when they are laughing and cracking jokes to entertain the line.

Two hours later, the bus driver still hasn’t shown up. This is the time period when everyone starts to sit down and relax. Some people are very agitated and start complaining at one in the morning. When I sat down on my bag, I see this Asian woman that is across from me who looks like she is in early twenties. She is by herself, she was wearing a really nice Canada Goose jacket, jeans, and had some Adidas Stan-Smiths on. We made eye contact and smiled. She then asks me “Hi, did your flight get canceled as well?” I responded, “Yeah, it was canceled.”

A couple hours went by and we were still conversing. I found out that she is a student at Ohio State University, and she even told me about her major in college and why she came here from China five years ago. Next to me my brother introduced himself to her and pulled out his cards to play war to pass some time. My brother and I taught her how to play since she had no idea what the game was. She picked it up quickly and started beating both my brother and I.  We were laughing and giggling, passing time while waiting for the bus to come. It’s about four A.M. in the morning and it was getting to the point where we had no faith in the bus arriving. The people in the station were yelling and screaming at the information desk because the driver was still missing. The Greyhound Bus staff were saying that the driver will arrive after six in the morning. The lady and I were talking still about our lives and what we did for a living. It was really interesting to hear what she had to say because you couldn’t tell by looking at her that she has traveled the world and done great deeds for her surroundings. She majored in ESL and she wanted to help exchange students learn English and help them with class work. She wanted to return the favor because she came to the United States from China to go to school and to learn English.  At eight in the morning, I finally got onto the bus to go back to home, exhausted. I sat next to the lady, talked for a little bit longer and then fell asleep.

It is crazy how many amazing people there are in the world today. I never saw her after that day, I forgot to ask for her number or any contact information. It was so nice to meet her and I regret not getting her number because we both had great things to talk about and connected with. We had a lot of ideas about helping others and getting involved in the world today. She got off at Cleveland and was getting picked up by a friend. Before she left she said bye and smiled at me. This is a day I will never forget about, meeting her and also experiencing a night at a Greyhound Station.One lesson I learned from that night is that if you can survive a night at a Port Authority station, then you can achieve anything in life.