As many readers may know, one can get a weekend pass for infinite rides on Metra trains. One Sunday, my daughter and I decided to take advantage of two passes she had and ride to an area we had not visited before.

We took a Metra train from Evanston to the Ogilvie train station in Chicago, with the assumption that all Metra trains left from there. After looking at the schedules and noting the times the next trains would depart, we decided to take the train to Aurora. It was leaving soon.

When we went to the information booth to learn the right track for the train, we discovered that the train actually departed from Union Station, a block or more away.

We rushed out of Ogilvie for Union Station, and after being given wrong directions several times, we managed to arrive in the right area for the train with only a few minutes to board.

As my daughter and I looked around to see which was the right track, a station employee came up to us, asked us where we were going, and, after our response, told us to get on his passenger vehicle and he would drive us to the train.

We got on his cart as other station employees watched. He quickly drove us to a train, only for us to discover that he had driven us to the wrong train. This was an Amtrak train. We’ll never know how he had misunderstood our destination. He apologized and said that he would drive us back to the correct train, but we thanked him, got off his cart and ran back to the area from which he had taken us. It would take too much time for him to turn his cart around.

When we got back to the area from whence the man had driven us, we were directed to the correct track by other station employees. The correct track happened to be adjacent to the Amtrak track.

My daughter and I ran to the adjacent track only to see the train pull off just as we got there. Sigh.

As we walked back into the general area, we heard some other employees teasing the man who had taken us to the wrong train. We felt sorry for him. He had really tried to help us, but as the saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

We searched our train schedules again to see what other trains might leave within the hour. We saw that there was a train leaving soon for Fox Lake, but it was leaving from Ogilvie Station.

We took off running back to Ogilvie, hoping to catch the train before it left. Whew. We made it to the station, found the right track, boarded and took our seats.

When we arrived at the Fox Lake station, we needed to freshen up and get something to eat. The station was closed. Good grief.

As we stood on the platform looking lost, a woman came up to us and asked us if we needed some help. We told her that we were looking for a restaurant. She pointed in one direction and told us there was a restaurant not far from the station.

We thanked her. Another woman came up to us when the first woman walked away and motioned that the woman that spoke to us was “wacko,” that the restaurant she referred us to was closed on Sundays. She directed us to another restaurant that was nearby and open. As we headed away from the station in the direction of the latter restaurant, the first lady yelled to us that we were walking in the wrong direction.

We told her that we were just walking down the sidewalk rather than in the road. She said, “Oh!” Fortunately, both restaurants could be reached by walking in the same general direction. Poor lady. She had just tried to help us. Again, “No good deed goes unpunished (or respected).”

We found the restaurant without a hitch, freshened up, bought some refreshments and rushed back to the station to catch the next train headed back to Chicago.

We felt lucky to have visited Fox Lake on that day, because Fox Lake suffered some major flooding shortly thereafter.

My daughter’s generosity had paid off in the end, but it certainly seemed for a while that “no good deed was going to go unpunished.”

Peggy Tarr

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...