Customers Share Praise for Caltrain 

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By Will Reisman, @willreisman

It’s one thing to forget your gym bag on Caltrain. Clothes can be replaced, new shoes can be purchased. It’s quite another thing to forget your gym bag with your wedding ring inside. That, unfortunately, was the predicament that Laura Ruettgers found herself in last week. Ruettgers story had a happy ending to it, thanks to the work of some helpful security officers. After a day of work and a trip to the gym, Ruettgers took Caltrain home and realized, to her dismay, that she forgot to grab her bag when she departed the train. That feeling turned into serious anxiety when she realized that her wedding ring was among the items she left in the bag.Following a sleepless night, Ruettgers returned to the Caltrain administrative headquarters in San Carlos, hoping that someone had noticed the bag and turned it into the agency’s lost and found. When she arrived at the building, Ruettgers was informed by security guard Solomon Shansab that Caltrain has a normal processing protocol, where all returned items are processed and logged for verification purposes. That process usually take 48 hours. When Ruettgers explained the severity of the situation—that her cherished wedding ring was missing—Shansab called down to his colleague, Joe Gonzalez, to see if anything could be done immediately. Like Shansab, Gonzalez explained the normal processing protocols, but he said he’d take a look downstairs at the sizeable collection of items left behind by Caltrain passengers. After a few tense moments, Gonzalez returned, holding Ruettgers’ bag which still held her wedding ring. Ruettgers was nearly moved to tears when she discovered her ring. “I so appreciate Joe and Solomon,” Ruettgers wrote in an email to Caltrain. “They each took time out of their busy days and truly went above and beyond the call of duty to help out.” Ruettgers wasn’t the only Caltrain passenger feeling particularly satisfied with the agency’s services this month. With over 1 million visitors in the area for the Super Bowl, Caltrain experienced higher-than-normal ridership levels, but that didn’t stop the agency from performing admirably under crowded conditions—something that our customers noticed.   Passenger Lynn Bougie emailed Caltrain to express her happiness with the service provided during a busy Friday night, when concerts occurring in San Francisco attracted thousands of extra passengers to Caltrain. “Great job last night adding extra trains and staff,” Bougie wrote in the email. “The staff were really helpful and it was very well organized. Thanks for being prepared for this weekend and making it easy to take public transport.” Matthew Carvalho, who took the train the following night, was similarly impressed. “I am writing to say nice job handling all the people in what seemed to me to be a smooth and well-organized operation,” wrote Carvalho, who took the train to AT&T Park for the Metallica concert on February 6. “Looking back at the complete gridlock on the street in SF at 11:30 p.m., the train option was much appreciated!” That kind of feedback is music to the ears of Caltrain (particularly since its coming from a Metallica fan.) Caltrain’s mission is to provide a safe, reliable and convenient transportation option to help get people off our region’s congested roads and highways. While there is always room for improvement, we always appreciate it when customers take a moment to “catch us” doing something right.