Amtrak employees literally dropped off elderly women in middle of nowhere

Amtrak employees somehow thought it wasn't a bad idea to drop off two old ladies in the middle of nowhere.
Amtrak employees somehow thought it wasn't a bad idea to drop off two old ladies in the middle of nowhere.

File this one in the 'what in God's name were these people thinking?' department.

On Sunday, the Star Tribune's Kelly Smith told the story of Vivian Rhode, 75, and her niece Peggy Larson, 64. In late March, the two women were on an Amtrak train traveling from Michigan to St. Cloud, where they planned to get off during a late-night stop. But their train somehow bypassed St. Cloud without stopping and kept chuggin' toward the next station in Fargo, North Dakota.

That's the sort of thing that ruins someone's day, but shit happens, right? In the case of missed stops, Amtrak's policy calls for employees to take riders to the next staffed station, then pay for a taxi or other transportation to get passengers back to their destination. However, instead of following protocol, the employees on Rhode and Larson's train opted for a novel solution to the missed-stop problem.

In the middle of nowhere two miles north of St. Cloud and without a train station in sight, employees simply stopped the train and allowed the women to get off. They had no idea they were in the middle of a rural area until they found themselves standing with their luggage next to the railroad tracks.

Chilled by a brisk wind, the women took shelter under a nearby bridge. Rhode's husband, waiting at the St. Cloud station, eventually grew worried and tried to call his wife. With the help of another person at the train station, Rhode was able to describe where she and her niece were stranded, and Rhode's husband came to pick the women up.

Marc Magliari, Amtrak spokesman, said to the Strib, "what the crew chose to do is not standard procedure." You think?

Meanwhile, Rhode said that next time she visits her son in Michigan, she'll be sure to take a car or plane.

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