We were traveling from Bergamo to Verona and it was the last regional train in the middle of the night. The train that pulled up was covered in graffiti and no one was on the train, except for my friend and I.
Sometime along the long train ride, a sketchy guy got on the train. He was constantly eyeing our bags and as a girl from Brooklyn, I know when I am about to get mugged. My friend is also not a naive girl, thankfully, and realized this could be a scary situation. We didn’t take our eyes off him as he came closer to us. At one point, he walked up and down the aisle, surveying us (both of us never losing sight of him) and he walked back to the front of the train. Nonetheless, he kept turning around, as if waiting for us to lose attention.
What to do in this situation?
If you find yourself in one of these lonely trains, make sure you choose the car with the conductor. We had done this when we first got on the train and felt some consolation that the conductor was nearby and if we needed help, we could shout “HELP!”. Unfortunately, our conductor did not look like he wanted to be troubled and his door was closed the entire time.
STAY ATTENTIVE. Don’t fall asleep. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings. If you need to get off the next train stop because this person is making you uncomfortable, make sure you get off the train. There are train attendants at every station who can provide help. Don’t lose sight of this person, especially if they are moving behind you.
Your safety is most important. I hoped you travel lightly and could do away with a few bags in case you have to run. Leave your heavy luggage. Even if the person is trying to steal from you, just leave it. It’s not worth your physical safety.
Most importantly, we’re two tough chicas from New York City. We are used to be aware on the subways and train stations. We grabbed tight of our purses. I took out my selfie stick and a set of keys, just in case I needed to protect myself. My friend took out a glass water bottle (some water comes in glass bottles in Europe haha). We honestly didn’t know what we were going to do, but we did not want to appear weak or “easy targets” at all. We wanted to appear that we would be hard to subdue.
The entire train ride felt like some kind of western movie stare down as the sketchy guy kept turning around to look at us. “Did we fall asleep yet?” “Are they relaxed and chatting now?” I imagined that was what he was thinking.
Finally, we made it to our last stop. He got off first and walked away. When we lost site of him on the platform, we got off the train. The conductor had never opened his doors.
We walked the platform on the most well-lit areas and when we got to Verona, we took a cab to our airBNB.
We made it safely to our location, but if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, I hope you this helped you!