Witnessing a Fatality on My First Caltrain Ride

Sofía was riding Caltrain for the first time, but the ride was far from what she expected. She is the blogger of  the Spanish-language blog, Living La Vida Blogging. Translation by Elena Shore.

People started taking off pieces of clothing, we were all sweating. It had only been about 20 minutes but it was enough time for me to feel claustrophobic. I was already going to be late and now I was going to be even later. I was really upset.

Today was the first time I rode Caltrain from San Francisco to Redwood City. When I saw it reach the station, it looked even better than what I had seen before from a distance.It looked huge, even a little majestic, so I took out my cell phone and took a photo. I’d never realized that Caltrain had different levels; I sat on the second level because I knew that that’s where my son would want to sit. From up above you could see everything and I started to fantasize about taking the train everywhere. I thought when I got home I would tell my son about this exciting public transportation. My route was supposed to be about 30 minutes, which wasn’t enough time to enjoy such a nice trip… but an hour and a half later, I never wanted to ride the train again.

Inside the train they announced to the passengers: “The train has stopped due to a fatality.” In my naïve mind for a moment I thought they meant the engine was ruined and the train was dead. It wasn’t until I saw the paramedics and police arrive that I understood that it was another kind of fatality. I wasn’t upset anymore; now I was in shock.

We weren’t allowed off the train so we all waited for about an hour for them to remove the body and clean everything up. Trying to sit there calmly knowing what had happened, imagining what was going on outside, was almost impossible. Why had he done it? Why had he jumped? Why had he chosen this train, this time and this place? Where did he find the courage to jump and why wasn’t this courage greater than his desire to end his life?

Finally the train started moving very slowly, the authorities wanted to take us at least to the next station since we had stopped in the middle of nowhere. When we arrived, we all got off the train in silence and started to walk, no one said anything and I just thought, “Better late than never.”

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