388: Rest Stop
This American Life
Nine radio reporters. Two days. One rest stop on the New York State Thruway. Stories of people who are just passing through, and the ones who can’t leave, because this is where their jobs are.
- Act One: Host Ira Glass describes scenes from a rest stop on the New York State Thruway, the Plattekill Travel Plaza, and the kind of people you might meet if you ever stayed long enough to talk with them. These include Robert Woodhill, the general manager, who needs a good sales day so he can beat his friend Andy, who manages a rest stop in Maine, in their weekly competition. Ira hangs out with a group of foreign students who’ve landed in Plattekill on a summer work program, and reporter Lisa Pollak gets travel tips from Lenny Wheat, who works at the rest stop’s information booth. Reporter Jonathan Goldstein spends a few hours in the rest stop parking lot. (30 minutes)
- Act Two: More stories of travelers and workers at a highway rest stop. The competition between Plattekill and Maine continues. Reporter Sean Cole observes the lunch rush at the rest stop’s busiest restaurant and stumbles into a behind-the-scenes romance. Reporter Gregory Warner watches a cashier at the Travel Mart deal with an angry customer. Reporters Nancy Updike and Jay Allison hang out for the graveyard shift – midnight to 8 a.m. – and find a surprising amount of romance at the rest stop. (26 minutes)
Transcripts are available at thisamericanlife.org