The Hoot

A Memorable Wait

The Windsor publication staffs had some extra time for team building on their recent trip to Chicago.

McKenna Casey, Staff Writer

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The soft hum of luminescent bulbs, energetic teens, and playful shouts of ticket attendants fill the artificially warmed room with consistent noise. Pigeons fly in off the Chicago streets and down the terminal to bob around and silently beg for food.

“Attention everyone please leave the birds alone. I repeat, please leave the birds alone. Let them be in their area. Thank you,” the built in broadcasting system rings to life as a group of grade school children stop chasing three large pigeons.

“Please do not feed the birds, they fly into Union Station and will stay if you throw food at them. Please, please do not feed the birds,” the crackled voice sounds distraught as he begs the passengers to let the birds be.

Soda cans clang down the glass of a vending machine to the wistful hope of an older gentleman, cards are shuffled as the large group of 28 Windsor students and staff anxiously await for the next train home. Advisers talk to one another feeling hopeless as the kids play happily, albeit tired.

Cheering can be heard above the Amtrak station as a marathon makes its way over the nearest street. That marathon was what brought the group to this predicament in the first place. 

After a national journalism conference  in Chicago came to a close, the Windsor Publications group began their journey home. However, the trip home was a bit more eventful than everyone hoped. The road their bus was on to get to the train station on time had been closed due to the race. Now they had their own race to win– the race against time.

First, the students waited. The bus stalled and could not get through. The bus driver pleaded his case, but to no avail. After waiting for around 15 minutes, the advisers had to make a decision. The train left in 20 minutes, it was 10 minutes by bus, 20-30 minutes by foot. The large group rushed off the crowded bus and into the streets, running to get home. Unfortunately, they arrived at 7:05 am–five minutes late– and watched as a train pulled out of the station. The advisers who had gone to the station earlier looked at them with somber expressions.

The advisers networked the best they could and got tickets that would split the group of high school students up onto two trains. The students were starting to accept this when the train masters came in with good news.

“We got everyone tickets for the 1:30 train!” It was 8 am.

Monitors blink above hanging in mockery displaying trains coming in and out of the terminal. They haven’t been updated in over ten years and resemble computer codes racing down the screen. The pink font yells down in haughty mock at the teens as another family leaves for their train.

The begrudged group munches on donuts that the advisers grabbed from a nearby shop. That is when the saving grace for the students walked in. This is in the form of a man named Jose–he worked extremely hard to get the kids home. The Amtrak worker ran around for nearly two hours trying to figure out how to get all 28 home together. It was a Sunday and nearly everything was sold out. Luckily, they were able to fit everybody on the dining cart of the 1:30 pm train. 

A man later appeared in the glass and pushed his way through, the pizza man. This Chicago deep dish pizza was amazing. The group was now in much better spirits. Jose came back to ask if anyone wanted more water, but he already brought a whole case. Now they only have an hour until they can start the journey home, so they wait.

Finally, after hours of waiting, the intercom breaks to life again.

“Will the Windsor Publications Group please come to terminal 23 for boarding? I repeat, will the Windsor Publications Group please come to terminal 23?”

After the message sparked out the group rose with one, unanimous thought.

We are going home.

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A Memorable Wait