Last night was the first (and hopefully only) time that Annie or I had ever got on the wrong subway, and of course the one time we do, we take a family of Russian tourists along with us. Annie and I were celebrating a great friend's birthday in Brooklyn. I over indulged in the incredible lasagna and followed that up with a big slice of ice cream cake. It was a good night but the gym is going to be a beast tomorrow. As we said our goodbyes and made our way back to Manhattan, Annie and I compared notes and continued the conversation from the birthday dinner: schooling choices. Needless to say, there were a lot of different opinions voiced by those at the party.
So as we swiped our MetroCards and briskly walked down the stairs to the C Train, we were still deep in conversation. So deep in our conversation that I was completely startled when a stranger stepped into my personal space and in broken english with a thick Russian accent asked which train he and his family needed to take to get to Times Square. Fortunately, both Annie and I have the NYC Subway map on our iPhones (there truly is an App for everything) We pointed out to him that the C train would take him to 42nd and 8th and they could walk the rest of the way. He nodded and said thank you.
Just as he turned to translate our brief conversation to his father (a Vladimir Putin look alike), the C train pulled up. Annie and I hopped on and waved our hands for the Russians to follow us. Putin and his wife and their two sons smiled graciously as they sat down and again thanked us for our help. Annie and I got a warm feeling knowing that we were helping some visitors to our city have a better experience.
A few stops later, that warm feeling disappeared. A few stops later, the names of the subway stations were unfamiliar. A few stops later Annie pulled out her iPhone to indeed confirm that we had jumped on the wrong train. Instead of the Manhattan bound C train, we were on the way-the-heck-out-in-Brooklyn C train. We had passed more stops in the wrong direction than the number of stops it would have taken us to get home. And we had taken the Putins along for the ride.
As we approached the next stop, with fear and trepidation, I walked over to the son who spoke English and informed him of the news. His eyes got wide and and he quickly passed along the news. This is the part of the story where I was really hoping that Mr. Putin didn't also have a pet Siberian tiger or an obsession with guns. In a flurry of Russian and wide eyed glances, the family followed Annie and I off the train and through the station, up an elevator, and down a couple flights of stairs to the correct Manhattan bound C train. As we arrived on the platform, our Russian friends stood a little further down from us and entered the subway car through a different door.
As we rode this C train back past all the stations we had just passed, Annie and I wondered how we could have thought that Hoyt/Schermerhorn was on its way to Manhattan. We had to laugh a little at the way things had turned out and could only hope that when the Putins return home, they'll tell the story of how some crazy people in New York took them on the wrong train home.