As all my fellow conductors know, my alter ego is "The Conductor to the Stars"; A near legendary railroad phenom, with an uncanny knack for spotting rail- riding celebrities. Because of this, coworkers are eager to share anecdotal stories of their brushes with fame with me. Mark and Bob, two Danbury Branch conductors, told me a whopper of a story in Grand Central last night:
"Hey Conductor to the Stars" Bob yelled from the platform on track 16. "You're not going to believe who we had on train Friday night."
I've been in a big celebrity sighting drought lately, and I felt an immediate pang of jealousy.
"I assume it was a celebrity?"
"A BIG celebrity," Mark said.
I didn't have time to play 20 questions, so I cut to the chase.
"Okay...Who was it?"
Mark and Bob shouted in unison:
"NO WAY!" I yelled back. Now I was really jealous.
"Not only that," Mark said. "But she didn't have any money and I had to bill her,"(now he paused for dramatic effect,) "and then I had the cops take her off the train in Stamford."
"Get out of here," I said incredulously.
"No really," Bob said.
Bob then had Mark show me the "pink slip"(a billing form used when passengers have neither ticket or money). Sure enough, there on the form was written:
Name: Paris Hilton
Address: 200 Main St.
City: Hyannis, Ma 02530
Paris's signature was emblazoned across the bottom in big girlish loops. She'd even placed hearts over the "i" in Paris and Hilton.
"That's HOT!" I said, doing my best Paris Hilton impression.
'Not really," Mark said. He then 'fessed up' saying the story was only partially true. As it turns out, truth was much sadder than fiction:
"I was collecting tickets on my train, when I came across an old white haired lady, who was about 70 years old. I asked for her ticket, but she said she didn't have time to buy one, and that she didn't have any money."
"No problem," Mark said while handing her a pink slip, "Do you have any form of identification?"
The woman reached into her over sized purse and pulled out a clear laminated ID pouch. In the lower right hand corner was a photo of Paris Hilton lounging in a skin tight dress. In the middle of the pouch was an aluminum lid from a Jello pudding container. This lid was in place of an official seal or hologram.
"The woman looked clean," Mark said. "I thought she was putting me on."
When the woman finished filling out the pink slip, she handed it to Mark.
"M'am," Mark questioned patiently. "You're telling me that your name is
"Yes!" The old woman answered matter of factly.
"THE Paris Hilton?"
(surrounding passengers began to roll their eyes.)
"And this is your picture on the ID?"
"Yes!" She was starting to get annoyed. "I used to be a model."
There were a few moments of uncomfortable silence then, and Mark and Paris stared at each other down.
"Okay Paris," Mark finally said. "I'm going to have the police talk to you in Stamford."(Mark was concerned about the woman's mental stability and thought that maybe she was suffering from Alzheimer's or dementia.)
"Is it because I'm Jewish?" The woman asked. "Is that what this is all about?"
Mark said that he called the rail traffic controller and asked for police assistance. He explained that he had an old woman on board who claimed to be Paris Hilton and unless the hard partying had finally caught up with her...the last he knew, Paris Hilton didn't look like a 70 year old woman.
When the train arrived in Stamford, two MTA police officers were waiting.
"Is there a problem officers?" Paris asked.
"We'd just like to speak with you m'am. Maybe get your name and address."
"I already told the conductor...My name is Paris....Paris Hilton."
"Okay m'am...Can you please come with us?"
The officers each grabbed an arm and escorted Paris off the train.
Before stepping on the platform, Paris turned around and addressed the
"See ya later...bitches!"
(Okay, I made that last part up...but wouldn't that have been a great exit line?)