A complete stranger helped me on the streets of Zurich

Richa Khare

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At the Lindt Factory in ZurichPhoto by author

In September 2016, we, a family of four: me, my husband, and two kids went on a vacation to Switzerland from Doha, Qatar where we presently live. There we stayed in Zurich and explored the places nearby as the Rhine falls, Zurich city and Titlis.

On the fourth day, we decided to visit the Lindt factory to buy their world-famous chocolates. Unfortunately, it was Sunday and the factory was closed and the next day we were leaving for Interlaken so wasn’t possible to come back.

My kids were really disappointed and we both couldn’t see their sad faces. So, after coming back to our hotel my husband suggested that I, with my elder daughter, go in the early morning the next day while he’ll finish packing and check out formalities.

I agreed upon this and checked the train and bus route for the factory. We had roaming data activated only on my husband’s phone so it was decided that I will take his phone in the morning. The hotel had WIFI so I could call on WhatsApp on my phone which will be with my husband. He added my fingerprint to unlock his phone.

The next day morning we both started early and reached the factory just as they opened their doors. After shopping to our heart's content, we started back.

There was a bus stop just in front of the factory from where we could catch the bus to the train station. Then suddenly I checked that data wasn’t working so I switched off the phone because earlier in our trip this happened many times and it was fixed once we restarted the phone.

But when I restarted, it asked for a passcode which I didn’t know (now don’t roll your eyes, I know it was quite foolish of me to switch off the phone without knowing the passcode but I wasn’t very much familiar with iPhone working, being an android user then).

Now I panicked. Although I knew the bus and train route, still needed a phone to communicate with my husband and confirm the train number and platform.

But I could do nothing so, started towards the bus stop. The bus took some time to come and we were waiting there when a local girl arrived. After hesitating a little, I approached her and told her everything about our problem and asked if I could use her phone to call my husband.

She agreed immediately and gave me her phone to call, but then I remembered that my phone was in aeroplane mode because roaming was not on. So, I asked her if I could call on WhatsApp to which she replied that she’ll have to use her personal phone (this one was her work phone) because she didn’t have WhatsApp on this phone.

I was a little hesitant on hearing this but she readily took out her second set. I called on WhatsApp but unfortunately that exact time my husband was in the lift so couldn’t receive the call.

I thought maybe he didn’t recognize the number that’s why didn’t answer. So, I wrote a message telling him everything and asking for his passcode. By this time, our bus had come and we got on it.

The girl’s name was Ronnie and she had to go a long distance on this bus while I had to get down after only two stops. She said that she’ll inform me if he messages back. My stop came but he didn’t message me.

We got down and started walking towards the station. Suddenly I heard someone shouting “He replied!”. I turned back to see Ronnie running towards me with her phone in hand. She had left her bus for us! My husband had finally replied with the passcode.

I entered the code and finally the phone was unlocked and I could use it. I thanked her profusely and asked how will she go now to which she replied that now she’ll walk two stops to catch another bus.

I couldn’t believe that someone can go to such lengths for an unknown person in a foreign country. I also realized that had I given her my phone number she could have just called to tell us the passcode 😐.

Even though I acted foolishly, my God didn’t leave my side and sent his angel to help us in form of this girl.

After unlocking the phone, I called my husband and told him everything. He gave me an earful for this. But because it was my fault, I didn’t mind. I proceeded to the train station and then to our hotel.

We left for Interlaken immediately after reaching back and had a great time there. And after returning back to our home in Doha, we enjoyed the chocolates for a long time and with it, memories of that wonderful girl always remained fresh in our minds.

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A passionate storyteller eager to form an emotional and friendly bond with my readers. Love to write about travel, health, pets and feminism.

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