Only one machine stood between us and our goal: bringing our hockey-obsessed son to his first NHL game (Devils vs. Sharks) in Newark. The machine was a New Jersey Transit ticket kiosk in Manhattan’s Penn Station. No problem. The machines are fast. Slot your card, punch the screen and you’re on your way by rail under the Hudson River. From the Newark station it’s an easy two block walk to the Prudential Center, hockey heaven.
Our son is six. His sneakers were hopping with excitement.
I stepped up to the machine. We’d taken a taxi this far. We had plenty of time. I touched the first few screens at the kiosk and then froze.
“Where’s my wallet?”
Not in my pocket. In an instant I knew where it was: on the floor of the taxi cab now heading down Seventh Avenue, never to be seen again. I hadn’t asked for a receipt. There are a dozen Chase banks within spitting distance of Penn Station, where replacement ATM cards can be obtained in ten minutes, but it was Sunday. They were all closed. I have my American Express number memorized but that’s no use. You must slot the actual card.
My driver’s license was gone too, plus all my cash. Dash home for a credit card? We live not in Manhattan but far away across yet another river in Brooklyn. It already had taken us forty-five minutes to get this far. At this point the only way back was a long winter walk.
My wife and son stood together looking at me wide-eyed, waiting for me to explain the solution. Of course I would have a solution. I’m Dad. I always know what to do. [Read more…]