The train arrived at a huge and ghastly station in New York. I was dizzy and felt somewhat scared. Swarms of people moved in quick motion. I had seen nothing of the like in Beirut or Ras El-Matn. What to do? Two bags! I advise every traveler not to carry more than a handbag. I stood perplexed. I sighted a man reading a newspaper and sensed kindness emanating from his face. I advanced towards him and said ‘Would you please help me and show me the way out?”. “With pleasure,” he replied as he stood up politely. “I am a foreigner and I don’t know where to go,” I explained. ‘If you are a student, you have no other option but to go to the Young Men’s Christian Association. The Association takes care of foreign students. You can sleep there for only one dollar per night. They will take care of you,’ he said, then glanced at his watch and added ‘I have 15 minutes to spare. I can help you out.’ He insisted on carrying one of my bags and we got out of the chaos at the station. ‘It is not far from here,’ he explained as he showed me the way. I thanked him and walked towards the hotel feeling totally worn out.
In the US, like in all other civilized countries, there are ‘good men’. A young man bade me welcome at the entrance and showed me my room. I thanked god.
The next morning, I inquired from the girl at the information desk how to get to Chicago.
“Would you rather take the train or go by car? The train is faster and more comfortable. Traveling by coach is cheaper though and it would be a fun trip for a foreigner like you. You would see America.”
“By coach,” I said.
“It’s easy then. The coach passes by the hotel at nine in the morning and you can buy a ticket here. It costs 20 dollars.”
I paid for the ticket, had my breakfast and waited for the coach.
The coach dropped us at the station in Chicago by early nightfall. The station was no different from the one in New York. What to do? Where to go? Where is the college? I approached an old man and said “A helpless foreigner seeking help!”. Having listened to my story, he said “The coach drove you past the college premises, you smart one. You are now twelve miles away from your destination. You need to go back.”