Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Angels do exist...

Traumatic journey home from Leeds. Due to a "failed train" further up the track, our Trans-Pennine Express ended up juddering to a halt in Selby, which is certainly not a place where the party's at, and there it remained. We'd pulled into Selby at 8pm, the train's engines chugged away promisingly for five, ten minutes and then the driver made his announcement. Mobiles swung into action, and nicely dressed people started running their hands through their thinning hair and slackening their ties, before exclaiming to their loved ones and the entire train: "Hi darling, the driver can't tell us anything so I can't tell you anything but when he can tell us anything I'll phone you to tell you something." There was another announcement. And then another. And then a final admittance. "This train will terminate in Selby." The driver shot through the train, discovered that all-but four passengers were en-route to Hull and told us that he'd arrange a coach to get us there. Five minutes later, the driver and his glamourous, overweight assistant waved goodbye, shouted "the bus has been ordered!" and jumped in a taxi, which was a nice touch, leaving 50 people stood outside one of the least-user friendly rail stations in the country. We waited. And waited. And waited. I could go on and copy and paste another few hundred And Waiteds into this entry but I'm sure you get the point.

And then, on the horizon, a car appeared. One gent, probably the one who couldn't tell his wife anything when the driver had nothing to say, had had the good sense to phone home for a lift. He hopped in the car and then hopped out again, shouting across to everyone outside the station, "I've got room for two if anyone wants a lift to Hull city centre?" 50 people, the majority of whom had been mumbling and moaning and complaining and groaning about how "this wasn't good enough," and "I need to get home". Nothing. No response. I expected a stampede. But not one person acknowledged that this man had offered something bordering on the extraordinary. Time slowed down and I looked at them all - they all had that look of indifference that plagues those of us living in the 21st century. So I raised my hand aloft, said something pathetic like "me please!" and hopped in the back of the car. A second later I was pleased to see that my co-liftee was a man who had sat near me on the train that, when we'd ground to a halt on the tracks, I'd heard tell his wife, "oh, this has been such a long day." At which point I'd given him some reading matter to keep him occupied and sane. And here we were, sat in this chariot of hope.
"Not everyone would have done that," I said just before we said our goodbyes. "You do realise that most people, almost everyone, would have just driven off?" They merely smiled back at me. Okay, they weren't angels, but in a world that is increasingly inhabited by very, very selfish people, they were as good as.

1 comment:

David said...

nice post