True Railroad Stories: The Coal Toss

RR track photo

Greetings Readers!

If you read my ‘about’ page you may remember me mentioning that my father would be making contributions to my blog.

Today, he decided to share a ‘feel good’ story from his time as a conductor on the railroad.  It is important to note that this is a true story; and frankly, it is my favorite.


– Gwin

The Coal Toss

     Many years ago, I was a young railroad conductor who was in charge of a train running between two major cities in the South. At that time, I had a beautiful wife and together we had two healthy children.  I felt very fortunate to be able to provide a comfortable living for myself and my family.
     Anyway, I had been working the same train route for several years so I was very familiar with the surrounding areas.  Oftentimes, I would get to know the people who lived and worked in the smaller towns along the way.  But of all of those places, one place sticks out in my mind for sentimental reasons.  Basically,  it was a tiny ragged shack where a mother and several small children lived.  I remember how the children, whose clothes were always torn and tattered, would run outside and wave to me and my crew whenever we passed by.
     When winter came, I would think about this poor mother with her children.  I thought about how cold they must have been at night.  I also thought about how warm my own children were in my home.  Just as I had completed that last thought, it suddenly occurred to me that there was something that I could do to help.
     The very next day, while gathering supplies for work, I packed an extra bag of coal and tossed it to the family when we passed by.  I knew that the mother could use the extra coal for her potbelly stove to help heat the home and keep her children warm.
     I continued tossing coal to those children for quite some time. I’ll admit that tears welled up in my eyes every time I did it.  I am sure that the railroad wouldn’t have been thrilled to know what I was doing but I felt good about doing it anyway.
     More than 40 years have passed and to this day I often think about that family and I wonder if they remember the conductor who tossed the coal.







36 thoughts on “True Railroad Stories: The Coal Toss

  1. Pingback: True Railroad Stories: A Familiar Smile – Seek The Best Blog

  2. Pingback: True Railroad Stories: The Coal Toss – Seek The Best Blog

  3. Pingback: True Railroad Stories: Santa’s Helper – seekthebestblog

  4. Another beautiful story. Your father is an amazingly generous man. Your father is a living parable. These stories could come straight out of Bible with their illustrations of how to treat your fellow man. Absolutely wonderful – I would be proud to call him my daddy! Sniff Sniff – no I’m not crying, there’s a lot of dust on my computer keys that’s all …:)


    1. Wow! Thanks Lady Marie! Dad will surely appreciate this lovely compliment! By the way, he really is generous and because of that he’s had some pretty amazing things happen in his life 🙂
      BTW, you might want to get a good duster for all of the dust on your keyboard and while you’re at it let me know where you got it from ( wipes away tears!) LOL!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Woebegone but Hopeful

    Hi Gwin (I’m getting through at last!)
    I just had to read this again!
    It’s beautiful. Humanity at its best.
    When I was young (1955-1969) I lived in an area which was coal-mining and my mum’s dad was a coal miner. The area had a long history of communities built around the local mine (known as ‘The Pit’). The people of those times would have approved of your Dad’s actions and cheered him on (and would have bought him several pints of beer at the local pub!) .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aw thanks! I’ll bet Daddy is so tickled reading that.
      Being cheered on at a British pub. How much fun is that?
      I’ll tell you, that would be a whole lot different than an experience that he had as a young MP in Germany.
      But I’ll let him tell that story 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: True Railroad Stories: The Peanut Man – seekthebestblog

  7. I would love to Reblog this come winter!
    All the best to you!
    Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: True Railroad Stories: The Coal Toss – seekthebestblog – Platypus Lady

    1. Thank you so much for such a beautiful sentiment. I think Daddy would say that his life has been mostly good!
      By the way, I LOVE your name! It made me chuckle when I saw it 🙂
      I just couldn’t help thinking of the old Saturday Night Live skit by the late Chris Farley 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  9. This has got to be one of the warmest stories about humanity I’ve read all year. Thanks for sharing it with the world it’s is sure to cause some to stop and realize ” I can help somebody – I can give a little bit more”. That’s certainly what it did for me.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks G!
      Daddy has lots of these true life little stories. Only thing is, he is a stickler for detail and if one thing is off he will want a rewrite! LOL!
      I am going to continue prying these out of him moving forward.
      Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Please do continue to pry them out of him – they’re jewels.

        ” Only thing is, he is a stickler for detail and if one thing is off he will want a rewrite! ” – Now I see where a certain blogger gets her fine literary skills from- LOL

        Liked by 3 people

        1. LOL! You sweet!
          Uh, but, I find typos in my posts way after I’ve published them so I’m not that good 😉
          By the way, remember this dude is also Ron’s uncle so that should tell you something ’bout our family’s love of storytelling.

          Liked by 3 people

  10. Reblogged this on seekthebestblog and commented:

    I don’t typically reblog stuff but I feel that this little gem from the STBB archives got overlooked! It is a true story that my Daddy wrote.
    Sadly, it was posted when I had two followers, including me and Ron! LOL!
    I hope you guys enjoy this one from Dad!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Anonymous

    I enjoyed reading your Dad’s post! I don’t know if he can remember this or not, but as you know our parents had five children and our dad, your grandfather, was the only breadwinner in the household. You know they couldn’t have had much to share! However, we knew a family who had as many children as there were of us, who had even less than we did. They lived in Georgetown, across the bridge. Every year Mother and Daddy would pile us in the car with bags of our too small clothes and take them to those kids. They were so happy to get those clothes. It also made us happy. We made this a happy excursion and a part of our entertainment! As I write this, I’m reminded of this quote. ” Remember the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more! – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


    Liked by 3 people

    1. Wow! Thanks for reading and commenting Aunt Jet 🙂
      Dad never told me that story but I am so glad that you did. I can’t wait to show this to him. I also love the quote that you included! It is so true. I am very proud that we came from such a kind family! Please keep reading and commenting. I’d also love for you to guest post anytime you’d like 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  12. I believe that it was Maya who once said, ““I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” However, I would modify that a little and say, “People never forget those who were kind to them.”. So, in your Dad’s case I feel comfortable in saying that there’s little chance, if any, that those people ever forgot him and his good deeds.

    Liked by 3 people

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