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Classic: Train Conductor Travis D. Ford

“People get on the train, they look grumpy, and he makes them smile,” adds Barbara Nachman from Rye Brook. “You can’t not respond to him. He’s a real antidote to the impersonality that pervades our society.” She pauses, a little embarrassed by her earnestness, and then says even more earnestly, “I wish I could be more like him.”

People send fan letters about him to Metro-North, and the company has used him in its commercials. He’s been on the Today show and Good Day New York and has been written about in several New York and Connecticut papers. He loves his job and shows it, and people love him for that.

A few minutes out of Grand Central, Ford goes into his second stand-up routine. “I’ll say good-bye to you now,” he begins, and then recites in rapid-fire singsong, “Auf Wiedersehen, arrivederci, sayonara, ciao, hasta luego, adios, good-bye, so long, and farewell, au revoir and shalom.” He pauses for a breath. “If I’ve missed anyone, I’m sorry,” he says, then proceeds to say good-bye in Greek, Turkish, Swahili, Hungarian, Filipino, Russian, Danish, Chinese, and a United Nations of other languages, all in less than 15 seconds. More grins, more happy applause. Ford has them ready for another day in the city.

“Watch your step leaving the train,” he says, as we pull into Grand Central. “Don’t forget anything. God bless and have a nice day.”

A commuter rushing past sees Ford on the platform and says, “Oh no! I missed the weather!” He means he missed Travis Ford, the sunshine of Metro-North.

Updated Friday, January 8th, 2010

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