The platform was quiet and largely empty between trains, but he was nevertheless alert and active. He had noticed me, in fact, before I saw him. He asked me if I needed help. That was our first contact. In the short time that we chatted he was watching people on both sides of the tracks, checking the time, peering down the line, and speaking regularly with a remote dispatcher. We talked a bit about his 6 years on the job and eventually I asked him if he’d mind me taking his picture. He agreed without hesitation, but the moment I positioned myself with the tracks behind him, the dispatcher called back to confer with him about an incoming Sounder train. He was clearly on the job so I didn’t mind waiting. When he turned his attention back my way, he offered to be in the sun or in the shade; with sunglasses or without. (Did I mention he was service-oriented?) I snapped four photos as we talked a minute more. That would have to be it. Trains have schedules, of course, and so did he. He had to cross the tracks to the other platform in order to welcome the next trainload of commuters. He had work to do.
(Puyallup, July 2014)