After a weekend of visiting his sister in Wisconsin, Junior Kyle Cole got on a bus with the intentions of going home, but wound up at Union Station in Chicago, Illinois.
“Sunday, I got on a bus to go to what I thought was Minneapolis, but it turned out to be Chicago. I asked the bus driver if we were going to Minneapolis and he said, ‘yes’, but 45 minutes into the ride I saw a sign that said ‘Going to Chicago’. I called my mom and sister and they started freaking out, and I was laughing about it cause I didn’t think it was a very big deal.”
Once Cole arrived in Chicago he called his sister, Miranda Cole asking her what he should do.
“Miranda said her friend was going to come get me and bring me back to Beloit, her college. About two minutes into the phone call this short guy came up to me and asked me for rolling paper. I was going to give him a piece of paper, when I realized he meant paper for rolling a joint of marijuana, and then he asked me if I smoked bud or not. I kind of just laughed him off and walked away.”
To pass time in Chicago, Cole explored Union Station while staying in touch with friends back home on the phone.
“I was in a room with a homeless person in each corner, and I was just sitting in the middle. One of the guys came up to me and asked for 80 cents. I only had 85, so I gave him that. I didn’t want to be too generous because I didn’t want him to take it as an insult. He claimed it was for a bus ticket, but I saw him go to McDonald’s afterwards.”
Making it back to Beloit on Sunday evening, Cole got onto another bus, the right bus, heading home to Minneapolis.
“I asked the bus driver four times when I got on the bus making sure it was the right one this time. Once I found out I was going in the right direction I was pretty relieved and took a nap for a couple of hours.”
Relieved to be home, Cole shared his experience about what he got out of his trip.
“I knew I was going to get home eventually, but when I realized I might have to stay on the streets until six in the morning I was kind of freaking out. It was cool because I was alone in Chicago, and it was definitely an adventure. It totally felt like something that would happen in a movie.”