“One quick change at Surbiton and I’ll soon be there” or so I thought until the platform announcer alerted us to train delays because a passenger at Putney had fallen ill. Curses, curses, did a drunk fall over, a drug addict lock herself in the toilet (this had once held up my journey for nearly an hour) or has someone fainted because they are on the latest fad diet and skipped breakfast?
Time froze in the cold, polite silence of discontent that we post-privatization, British rail travellers exemplify, until a local citizen and self-appointed town crier, broke the ice. He limped up and down the platforms, cursing our resignation, the cost of fares and the fact that a man had had a heart attack at a station down the line, and nearly 4 hours later, trains were still running late. Whilst no one acknowledged his objections, we were all quietly relieved to have them voiced for us in such uncensored tones.
And then it hit me – 8 a.m! Was the man, on his way to work, when his heart halted? Was he in a rush, stressed, did he have a family and was it a fatality? Apologies to the passenger from Putney – it was your journey that was really delayed. Such a lot of negative energy was sent your way from disgruntled travellers – I do hope a ‘Get Well Soon’ is in order.