Bustling cities tend to have a lot of options as far as transportation goes. In Paris, your own two feet are good enough for getting you from point A to point B in most cases, but if time is of the essence, there are the trains.
The stations and lines create a complex network beneath the city streets, and while using them is often more effective than driving a car, they have their own set of difficulties.
Parisians are used to all sorts of transportation delays. Constant strikes and other disruptions are just another daily occurrence, making it nearly impossible to have a definite ETA.
But this past Monday highlighted a new sort of disruption. The vague “Because of a sick passenger, service has been interrupted” announcement that is a catchall explanation was traded in for a much more specific one.
This week, passengers were treated to the gift of life in the form of a birth on RER A.
As the train pulled into a stop at the center of Paris, the baby was born, causing a chain reaction that inevitably slowed traffic.
The RER posted on Twitter, describing the scenario and giving travelers details on the situation.
“The mother and the baby were taken care of by the helpers,” a translation of the Tweet reads. “They have been evacuated from the train and are currently heading for the nearest clinic. Traffic gradually resumes between CDG / Etoile and Nation but remains very disturbed.”
La ligne A est heureuse de vous annoncer que le ? qui vient de naître bénéficiera de la gratuité des transports sur l’ensemble du réseau #RATP jusqu’à ses 25 ans. #RERA #Cestungarçon pic.twitter.com/aW6mSEO2Bi
— RER A (@RER_A) June 18, 2018
Perhaps looking for some good PR, the RATP (Regie Autonome des Transports Parisiens), the public transport operator, decided to bless the new little one with 25 years of free travel.
“Line A is pleased to announce that the newly born (baby) will benefit from free transportation on the entire #RATP network until its 25th birthday,” a translation of their Tweet read.
Dans les RER surviennent toutes sortes d’événements dont certains plus heureux que d’autres! Longue et heureuse vie au bébé. Félicitations à la maman. Pensées aussi pour les voyageurs… https://t.co/vHD5zNk6k3
— Valérie Pécresse (@vpecresse) June 18, 2018
Valérie Pécresse, president of RATP, added her own best wishes on social media. “Long and happy life to the baby,” she wrote in French. “Congratulations to the mother. Thoughts also for travelers …”
Of course, those travelers had mixed emotions about the joyous event. Some were congratulatory, others were annoyed with the delay.
Still others were critical of the 25 years of free transportation awarded to someone who did nothing but have the (mis)fortune of being born on a train, concerned that this might jumpstart a new trend and tempt other mothers-to-be.
Whether or not giving birth on a train is really the best scenario for an expecting mother and child, the two now have quite a story to tell!
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