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The look on his face was unmistakable — he had no idea where he was. I saw him on the Green Line train from Old Town this morning on my way to meet a commuter in El Cajon. He got on the train at Rio Vista, an apartment development in Mission Valley, and a few stops past SDSU’s underground trolley station (which is really cool, and East-Coast-feeling, by the way) he started to look really, really worried.

We passed the Grossmont station, and Amaya Drive, and all of a sudden he blurted in my direction, “I think I’m lost.”

It turned out he could have exited the Green Line a few stops ago in order to transfer to the Orange Line. But it wasn’t the end of the world, or the end of the line, for that matter. I told him he could still transfer to the Orange Line from the next stop, the El Cajon Transit Center. (Look at me, your friendly neighborhood blogger, hitting the streets and helping the people.)

The guy told me he’s from Indianapolis, here on “business.” He said he’s a plumber, officially. Unofficially? He said I didn’t want to know what kind of business he runs. And getting his name was, for that reason, out of the question.

But he did seem relieved when we left the trolley that he was still going to make it wherever he was going. I know well what it feels like to miss your stop or your transfer spot. And from watching the alertness of many of the people I’ve been traveling among for this feature, so do they.

I think the panic associated with taking transit is the great equalizer in the whole mess. The bus driver doesn’t necessarily know where to let you off, and it doesn’t matter if you’re headed to a really important business meeting, or a doctor’s appointment, or to spend a leisurely afternoon in Mission Valley.

KELLY BENNETT

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