It’s weird being part of public transport. Literally all human life is here from the businessman in his sharp suit on his way to some high powered meeting to the kid in the hoodie bunking off school. And the vast majority of the passengers are absolutely fine though I have to admit a preference for the hoodies who are invariably polite and do as I ask them without whining. Maybe David Cameron and chums have been up my way dishing out hugs or something. But the kids are generally far better passengers than the suits. And they are ten times better than some of the parents I had on my train over the last two days.
First up was a ten year girl trying to get herself killed. I’d closed my doors and was just starting to motor when she zipped onto the platform. Now when I was trained I was taught to motor out of a platform slowly. Partly because it stops all the passengers falling over and partly because if there is a weak door interlock then there won’t be a problem with losing the pilot light if I’m gradually building up speed. So I was moving slowly BUT I was still very definitely moving a 200 ton train over live electrical rails. Which is why it puzzles me that the parents of a ten year old let her run onto the platform alone and start to try to prize open the doors of the train. Should you wish your child to survive then this is not the most sensible option! So naturally I braked and did the ‘stand clear’ message but still she was fiddling with the doors. I’m not sure why because there isn’t even a pretend-button that we like to stick on some of the trains. Of course, once the parents got to the platform they guided her away (had it been my kid I would have beaten them to death there and then but perhaps I’m unduly harsh regarding these things ;o) ) and I could start the train moving again.
So much for yesterday. Today I was due to get off the train for grub and opened the cab door and stood in front of it to await the new driver getting on. At this point two passengers got on and tried to push past me to sit in the seats immediately behind the cab door. One was an adult woman and one a teenager who seemed to have special needs of the aspergers/autism type by his behaviour. Now since the door was still open there was no way I was letting them through and so I blocked their way and asked them to wait. The train was just being brought into service so every other seat was free. At which point the woman sat down and her son climbed onto the seats and literally crawled along them past me towards the cab. I slammed the door pretty quick to stop him going through! His mum whined about it and said he wouldn’t go in the cab but I’m not so sure. If he was so socially unaware to not realise that being temporarily disrupted is just part of life then I’m unconvinced he wouldn’t have gone into the cab. Which, in itself, doesn’t really bother me. I’ve had kids peeking in before and I don’t mind them taking a look – but at no point do they get to go in there unattended as there is a door in the front of the train which leads directly onto the track. And yet, mum was put out that I slammed the door in Precious’ face.
That’s not the worst one though! Later on I was waiting at the terminus while the train was tipped out. All of a sudden I saw one of the staff sprint forwards and lift something small up in the air. I couldn’t actually tell what it was at that point. Later he came to the front and told me that a guy was letting his baby of around 18 months get off the train by herself while he took pictures. And the reason the member of staff had grabbed her (and we never touch passenger’s children) was because not only did she have to clamber several inches up to the platform but she also had to stretch her legs across the gap to get there. A gap down which she would have fitted perfectly. Remember that electrified track I was talking about?
So yet again, a completely clueless parent. I swear that people are so used to using the tube in London that they forget that it is a railway and not a nice, safe kindergarten. Three potential serious injuries to children in two days – and at no stage would I say that it was the child’s fault. The first and last were two young to really be aware of the danger and the teenage boy clearly had special needs and required extra protection. Some days I really wish Social Services would install offices on some of the platforms. Grrrr.
Total Umbrella Count: 5