There are lots of terrible things happening in the world. I thought long and hard about whether to write this, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought 'this is where it all starts'. Maybe if we s recognised that we really would have a better life if we acted with politeness and consideration, we could make the world a little bit nicer.
It started on the 7:48 Thameslink service from Mill Hill. It was, for once, not too busy and on time. I sat down and started to read Anne Widdecombes column in The Dail Express. Regular readers may find this strange, but I enjoy her column and it gives an interesting insight into current affairs from a former minister. At West Hampstead, a prim and proper, middle aged woman in the adjacent seat stood up to get off. As she stood up, she inadvertently dropped a hair band. She hadn't realised so I picked it up and politely said 'excuse me, I think you dropped this'. To my astonishment, she snatched it and glared at me. I was taken aback. For a second, I wondered whether I'd made some terrible faux pas. Then the two ladies sitting opposite me, who I didn't know and didn't know each other both smiled at me. One said 'how rude', the other said 'how much does a thank you cost'.
They were clearly disgusted at the woman's behaviour. I was very grateful for their affirmation as it reassured me I hadn't done something stupid without realising. As I thought about it, I became a little cross. What has happened to basic good manners? Sure in the scheme of things, this matters not a jot. But as we become an angrier and more isolated society, we become ever less likely to perform the small acts of kindness to strangers. My act was hardly on the 'Good Samaritan' biblical scale, but it if the Good Samaritan had his kindness thrown in his face?
I hope next time someone drops something and doesn't notice, I won't be deterred. The one good thing I took away was that the two ladies opposite were equally disgusted. I hope they both have a lovely day at work. As for Mrs Rude, I sincerely hope that whatever cloud in her life has made her so angry and rude lifts. I wish her no ill, it is rather sad that someone can be like that. I guess we can all be inconsiderate at times, especially on the daily commute. We should all give some consideration to our fellow travelers and then we'd all be happier.