I caught the train to Brighton at Clapham Junction, and when getting into the train where technically there is a specific space for prams – same one for wheelchairs – I noticed that space was already taken by two ladies who did not bat an eyelid when they saw me pushing the pram and looking at them in an inquisitive way (like, erm, you should be moving??). It is important to remark that the carriage was almost empty, so there was not a problem of lack of seating. Of course nothing happened from their side.
No worries, I thought, there is another space near the luggage area where with a bit of logistics I can sit down AND accommodate the pram just by my side. So I did! and 5 minutes later we were all settled and enjoying the journey, my little one fascinated by the surroundings, me with a cup of coffee and a croissant.
We were approaching East Croydon, when one of the ladies who were sitting down where I should be seated with my little one, came close and said:
– “We are getting off now, so you can seat where we were, it will be more comfortable for you”
I was *just* swallowing a bite of my croissant, hence I did the gesture of covering my mouth with one hand and signalled “stop” with the other one.
I think she completely ignored it, because she looked at me and said to her friend (whilst she was staring at me and my little one)
– “Oh, no worries, she is foreign, she does not understand”
To which I replied, now that I had finished swallowing the bite of croissant:
– “I’m sorry ma’am, I was swallowing a bite of croissant and it is quite rude to speak with a mouth full. Thank you for your offer, but we are quite settled here now”
She looked at me in complete disbelief and quickly made her way to the door.
I carried on, watching through the window, and sipping my coffee.
2 thoughts on “The kindness of strangers”
Thanks for sharing, lorenaalina! Yes, some people can be so inconsiderate! I had a problem like that on a train to Cardiff when I was heavily pregnant. I was with my disabled mother and none of us could carry the things inside the trolley (hence why we were using a trolley!). Some people gave us funny looks as I tried so hard to put the trolley somewhere where it wouldn’t topple or get in anyone’s way, and others would come crashing past with their luggage, bumping into us and not bothering to say “excuse me” or even apologise afterwards.
I get something like that a lot on the buses too with my mother who needs to sit down, but nobody cares to offer their seat to her, and the people sitting in the disabled seating area at the front of the bus are able-bodied people who could easily sit in the seats further down or at the back of the bus.
Now I have even more problems with using public transport with a pram so I tend to just walk everywhere or avoid busy times like rush hour.
I think London is a great “multicultural” city, but I think people should be made to take and PASS ‘good manners and etiquette’ tests if they want to live/study/work here. It might make it a better place to live!
It’s not just in London. I normally take buses and trains outside of rush hour so there’s hardly any issue, but some time ago I did get up and leave my seat for an elderly person… the whole of the bus was staring at me like I’d grown a second head!