The story about the best friends on the train…

Shortly after we boarded the train to San Francisco last week, we went to the Café car to get some coffee and breakfast.

We were standing in line when the girl in front of me tapped the girl in front of her on the back. She turned around, and her face lit up.

“Oh my GOSH!” she shouted. She held out her arms.

They laughed and hugged.

“Oh my gosh! I can’t believe this! Where are you headed?”

“The financial district.” They grabbed each other’s hands.

“Me too!” They hugged again.

And again.

As my daughter said afterwards, “They sure made a scene, Mommy.”

A beautiful scene.

The man at the register waited patiently for them to order. (Though I have to say, I don’t think he minded the wait. He was smiling just as much as everyone else in there was.)

Finally, the girls turned to him.

“This is my BEST friend,” one of them said. She put her arm around the other’s shoulder.

I smiled and fought the lump in my throat.

As they finished ordering, I heard them say to each other, “This is perfect. We can sit together.”

I had to ask…

“So you guys didn’t know you were both going to be on the train?”

“We had no idea!” They laughed.

“How long has it been since you’ve seen each other?”

And this is what really got me…

“About six weeks.”

Six weeks?

By the way they acted, I would’ve guessed it had been much longer.

“How neat,” I said, hoping they didn’t notice my watery eyes.

Just then, their food was ready. They got their things, waved to the rest of us in line, and headed out of the Cafe car smiling and laughing.

I stood there, looking at the man ready to take my order, blinking back tears.

Because that might’ve been one of the sweetest encounters of friendship I’ve ever seen.

And it made me think of my own friends.

It made me remember when my friend Jen moved to New Jersey, and how hard we cried when we said goodbye. And how much I miss her.

It made me remember how my heart ached when my friend Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer. And how much her strength and recovery inspired me.

It made me think about my friend Amy and how she and I still laugh about things we did in fourth grade. And all the memories we’ve shared since then.

It made me appreciate all they ways my friends have touched my life…bringing meals over when my kids were born, calling when I was going through something difficult, celebrating birthdays and successes.

And if I had to guess, I’d say those girls I saw on the train probably have a pretty special friendship.

They probably don’t compete with each other.

They’re probably truly happy for one another when something good happens.

They’ve probably seen each other at their worst, and instead of judging or criticizing, have helped each other to pull out of it. And supported each other through it.

Because that’s what friendship is about.

And seeing them that day made me even more grateful for the friends in my own life.

The friends I’d love to run into. Any time.

*post originally published 2008

What about you? What friends are you thankful for today? Take a minute to text them or call them and let them know!


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