(Background story) My boyfriend (let’s call him D) and I spent spring break in Vienna and were taking an overnight train back to Florence (we were in a study abroad program there). Train rules regarding seating on Italian-Austrian trains are different than American ones. The overall rule is that if there’s a free seat, then you take it (regardless if a seat number has been assigned to your ticket). This is what the conductor told us when our seat numbers were taken, and we had to sit apart. Nothing to do but go with the flow.
Thankfully on the way back, we managed to find two vacant seats, so D and I were able to sit next to each other. There are six seats in each compartment, and the other four were occupied by an Austrian family (who were really nice and spoke great English). So with a full compartment, our journey began. (End background)
It’s about 2 am and 5 hours into the trip when the train picks up another group of passengers. At this time, our entire compartment was asleep when we were suddenly awakened to the sound of our door being yanked open. A guy in his early 20s said something in German, and the woman next to me responded. Not knowing any German, I sat there confused but watched as the two started arguing back and forth.
After a few minutes, the guy is fed up and asked if any of us spoke English. D said yes, and the guy pointed to a seat occupied by the Austrian Family’s daughter. He said that #53 was his seat and waved his ticket at us. D said sorry and told the guy to find a spare seat. The guy repeated that #53 was his seat. D started to explain that on this train you grab a free seat, but the guy just kept repeating that #53 was his seat. The ticket said so.
At this point, the Austrian Family and myself are getting irritated. It’s 2 in the morning, we’re tired and want to sleep. Finally, I told the guy to find a conductor to help him with his seating issue. To our relief, the guy takes my advice and heads off. However, after a few minutes, he comes back with the conductor in tow, and the whole “#53 is my seat” starts up again. The conductor tells him the same thing D tried to tell him, but the guy just wouldn’t listen.
The conductor offered to help find him another seat, but the guy continued to sound like a broken record. He even flipped on the compartment light to show the conductor his ticket. He had the nerve to flick on a blinding light in a dark compartment full of tired passengers! I was angry enough to throw him off the train at this point, and based on the expressions of the Austrian Family, they were thinking the same thing. The conductor noticed our looks of anger, flicked off the light and steered the #53 passenger away. My thanks to the conductor because we didn’t see #53 passenger again for the rest of the trip. 0330-10
Your Ticket, Please
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