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Customers amuse me sometimes. The things they do just seem so at odds with what I think is going on.

Some of them are cannier than others. When I’m sitting around waiting for a signal and wishing now was a good time to play the dollies game I keep a vague eye on what’s happening on the platform. Often you see people walk the entire length of the train to get their special seat. This sort of behaviour is something which drivers usually tut and sigh at as people wanting their special seat invariably enter the platform just as we are doing the doors-close message. This is typically ignored until the chimes start playing and the doors slowly begin to close. And it is only at this point will special snowflakes suddenly work out that the train is leaving and they’ll sprint to try to get to their special seat and will stick their hands in the doors to stop the train going without them. Aside from them being discourteous to all the other passengers who got on in a timely manner and putting their lives at risk this is extremely annoying behaviour because of the potential for damaging the door mechanisms.There are plenty of stories around of idiots trying to squeeze in and actually breaking the doors so that the train has to be taken out of service. Strangely, we never charge them for this.

Now one of the other behaviours I see which is far more appealing is the tippy-toe passenger. These types are rare but they are much smarter than the average commuter. They’ve taken the time to think about why the train is being held and keep an eye on my signal as they move up the platform. And between glances at the headwall they flit from door to door on their tippy-toes. As soon as I start making announcements they leap on at the nearest door and off we go.

Yesterday I happened to observe a tippy-toe passenger as I reversed in a platform. This procedure does what it says on the tin: I bring the train in and then walk down the platform and drive it off in the other direction. As it takes a few minutes to shut down a train, walk to the other end and get it ready to move again the signal tends to stay red for at least five minutes after I bring the train in.

As I made my way down the platform I saw a woman in full tippy-toe mode. All the anxious glances were there accompanied by the flitting and darting. So engrossed was she in making sure that the train didn’t leave without her that she entirely failed to notice I was walking about two metres behind her for the entire length of the train. Well…she put so much effort in it seemed rude to overtake. 😀