I often get bemused looks when I say I’m getting the train. Sometimes incredulous. Occasionally piteous. I know, I know, I’ve got a car and I can afford to drive it. So why do I choose to travel with complete strangers, often with dubious hygiene (this myth is for the most part unfounded) and have to rush to keep to someone else’s timetable? Perhaps people who don’t use public transport don’t see the magic of the experience. Let me tell you about something that happened tonight on the train that truly restored my faith in humankind.
I was sat at the platform waiting for my train, right. I had just finished fuming to my significant other over the phone after a terrible day at work. The train arrived and with phone in hand I stood up from the bench, picked up my bags and boarded.
The ticket inspector came round, stopped at my seat… and I couldn’t find my ticket. Or my phone case that it was in. Or my bank card. Shitshitshit. Not only have I lost them, but I’m going to get chucked off the train for travelling without a ticket.
“I must have left my ticket with my phone case on the platform” I plead feebly to the inspector, who is called Dale. I’m in my grubby cycling sneakers, he’s going to think I’m a fare dodger. I’m going to get a criminal record. Instead – “Don’t worry about it”. “Do you want me to try to contact the station to try and find it and put it to one side for you?” says the staff member who’s doing the tea service. “I’ll try to get hold of them now”.
I return to my seat. Why are they being so nice to a total lemonhead who can’t keep her sh*t together? Do I have something stuck in my teeth and they feel sorry for me?
Predictably (just one criticism for you, ScotRail) they can’t find the number for the station office on the website. The centralised call centre won’t give it to them either. They even enlist the driver to contact the control centre to try and get in touch with the station office, and they don’t have a number either. The tea service lady rings a colleague who’s a pal. She’s found my things at the station.
That’s a relief. I’m coming back through to the station later on tonight, but the office will be closed by then. “No worries, I’ll drop by after work tomorrow” I say. “Are you sure? The lady at the station doesn’t mind hanging around to give it back to you. Just knock on the window if the office is locked. What time does your train get in at?” I tell her this is too much. “She said she’s going to be around late anyway”, I’m told.
I make my return journey, three hours later. It’s a quarter to ten in the evening when I get back to my station. Sure enough, there’s Carol-Ann, a lady I had nearly collided with on my way to the ticket office earlier in the evening, stomping around as I was still in the grip of my furious rage. She’s waited on the platform and I want to give her a great big hug for finding my belongings. She clearly wasn’t ‘around late anyway’. I say my thank you and she says goodbye and walks sharpish to the car park to drive home for the night.
And I am just mesmerised by how kind people are.
Latest bVcc stats: bike 4719.0 // car 4444.2 // motorboat 1 miles
Tuesday, 22 October 2019