Toy train mishap ruins Christmas

November 30, 2017 — by Roland Shen

Senior Roland Shen remembers how a dinner guest destroyed his favorite toy

Excitedly running through the dining room, I inhaled the mouthwatering aromas of ham and crab and bolted straight for the Christmas tree. I was 7 years old at the time, and we had just purchased a new battery-powered train, complete with a circular track.

A few days prior, I had spotted the train set at a Toys “R” Us while looking for gifts to get my cousins. The display train was gorgeous — its red and green lining sparkled at all angles, and the wheels rolled so smoothly on the tracks that it was nearly silent.

Best of all, it was on sale — $10 off its original price of $29.99. My dad saw the train and was enticed by it before I even had the chance to begin my usual begging. We left the store with a gargantuan box and a huge smile on my face.

Now we were going to install it right beneath our tree. It took just an hour to assemble, and my eyes gleamed as I turned the train on. It began whirling around the tree — the train was alive.

I proceeded to stare at our household’s newest attraction for the next 15 minutes, until I heard the doorbell ring.


I instantly recognized the shrill voice: it was Henry. Our first guest was here for Christmas dinner. Henry rushed into the living room, where I was still gaping at the train as it took its 30th lap around the tree.

Henry was always a nice kid and a good friend, but his defining characteristic was always his craziness, a seemingly infinite pool of energy.

“WHAT’S THAT?” he said.

Promptly answering him, I explained how it was a new train and my Christmas present. Suddenly, out of impulse, he belly-flopped right onto the track, which split in two. I gaped in pure horror.

“How is the train moving?” Henry said.

Henry then grabbed the train and began to swing it around like a rope. It was quite a long train, one with multiple compartments each connected by a thin piece of plastic. The train snapped and its wheels slowed to a stop.

Thanks to Henry, I was able to spend only 15 minutes with my favorite toy. Soon after, my parents, along with Henry’s parents, walked in, seeing my puddle of tears and a genuinely confused Henry sitting on the hardwood floor.

I hoped my parents would scold Henry for what he had done, but they simply laughed. A few days later, we returned to Toys “R” Us and saw the same train set, now even cheaper because of the store’s post-Christmas sale. The same beaming expression appeared on my face, and my dad quickly noticed it.

“No,” Dad said.

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