Tube Tales

The Tooting Samaritan

It has been a particularly shitty 7 days so I am going to pull out a good deed McCannecdote™ to cheer everyone up, principally myself…

So, it was a Thursday night, and I was heading home after a usual combination of work bar -> local pub shenanigans. I was quite merry and also very tired as it was approaching midnight. It had been a white wine and tequila shot kind of evening (not together of course … although I have tried that, wasn’t bad actually).

There’s a nice scam to my Tube journey to and from work. I never sit down on the Tube, just don’t like it, plus I feel like if I stand I can tell people I exercise. When I get on at Tooting Broadway I stand against the opposite set of doors to the ones I enter through, and the same doors open at every station along the journey, until we get to Stockwell, where I change, and the doors open right where I am. It’s great, means you never get jostled or shunted by people getting on and off, and at your stop you don’t have to weave, slink, push, punch and stab your way through the crowd to get off.

On the way home, I just need to make sure I’m one of the last on the train so I can stand against the same doors as I came through; then I don’t get disturbed throughout the whole journey and the train is usually empty enough by the time we get to Tooting that getting off is no problem.

So on this evening I was standing in my usual spot against the doors and the only thing keeping me awake was a cute girl standing foolishly by the opposite doors of quite an empty carriage. She was a tall long-haired blonde with a strange mix of incredibly posh and sort-of-indie looks and dress. It was like, she definitely owned a horse, but the horse had loads of wristbands on from gigs and festivals they’d been to. She was all wrapped up and looked tired from a long day of equestrian and then Brixton Academy. But her constant swishing of her long hair seemed to serve to keep both of us alert during the journey.

We got to Clapham South, couple of stops before Tooting, and she cantered off the train onto the platform. As a gentleman I paid careful attention to her arse in case she forgot to mind the gap and tripped as she got off the train. But as she trotted off I saw something yellow fall on the platform behind her.

At first I thought her hair had fallen off.

I then realised she dropped her scarf. I couldn’t tell if it was a one-of-a-kind designer piece from a boutique on King’s Road, or a one-of-a-kind handmade, second-hand piece of muso tat from Camden market, but I had just seconds to act.

What are the chances, eh? Probably about 16-1 each way.

What are the chances, eh? Probably about 16-1 each way.

With selfless chivalry I instinctively jumped off the train, grabbed the scarf from the platform and ran after her. I tapped her on her bare shoulder (bare shoulder should have been a hint for her that she was fucking missing something) and handed the scarf back to her. “Oh thank you that’s so sweet of you!” I was about to begin wooing her with “Hey is that from a boutique or is it indie muso tat?” or “Have you ever ridden a white horse?” when I heard…

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP….

Fuck-a-duck the train was leaving; I was a full carriage away from where I’d been. I jumped back on at the nearest doors and waved to the damsel, consoling myself that in all likelihood given her tastes, neither my hair nor my face were long enough for her to have been interested. Then I realised … I’d left my rucksack in the next carriage. “Selfless chivalry”, more like “senseless chivalry”. I’d have to wait till the next stop to get it. I wasn’t using the doors between carriages. I’ve seen beggars do it effortlessly, but knowing me I’d end up mashed into a pulp like the filling in a Northern Line sub roll.

At the next stop I dashed into the next carriage the long way. But my rucksack was gone. In my rage there was only one possible solution. A homeless black ginger Muslim Jew immigrant had stolen my bag. Mother fucker.

I spent the rest of the trip home sobbing about why … OH WHY … could I have been punished so cruelly for my kindness in helping the scarf girl. And I didn’t even have enough fingers to count the number of high-value items of consumer electronics I had been FUCKING NEEDLESSLY carrying around in that rucksack to and from work.

Thankfully when I got home, the black ginger Muslim Jew immigrant hadn’t ruffled through my rucksack, found my address, got a cab to my place, smashed a window and burgled me silly. I made myself a nice cup of tea and tried to relax by sticking on my iPod, oh wait no I couldn’t. Oh well at least I could play some PSP games, oh hang on, no. Well I’d just lie in bed and look through the evening’s photos on my camera … MOTHER FUCKER!

The next day I went online and registered my loss with the TfL Lost Property people; taking some solace in the fact they are based in Baker Street, home of the world’s greatest detective.

The irony is, Mr Holmes, I carry all my valuables around in my rucksack every day in case my flat gets burgled...

The irony is, Mr Holmes, I carry all my valuables around in my rucksack every day in case my flat gets burgled…

I told my colleagues at work the tale and there was a certain gender split among the responses, with girls saying “oh that was so sweet of you”, and guys saying “you fucking idiot”. Both of which were true. Whilst it was kind of me to rush so instinctively to her aid, were it not for the fact I was so focussed on the way her legs were so far apart you could build a footbridge between them, maybe I’d have remembered to take my bag with me.

On the Saturday I received a curious hand-addressed envelope through the letterbox:

How selfless, didn't even put his bank details or gift voucher preferences at the bottom...

How selfless, didn’t even put his bank details or gift voucher preferences at the bottom…

Yay!!! My things were safe. I wasn’t the victim of a bastard thieving drug-addled nomad, but the beneficiary of a kind Samaritan!

I went straight away to grab my swag from the station. Have you ever been in the office of a Tube station supervisor? It’s like this little cramped, cluttered, screen-filled sardine can. Like the International Space Station but with gravity.

“Nice of the guy to hand your bag in,” he mumbled – as if he hadn’t spoken to another soul in many solar years. “Yes, it was, so delighted. Ha. But actually I lost the bag because I myself was being nice returning someone’s lost scarf. But yes definitely a very nice thing to have handed my bag in, what a nice bloke, but just saying, guess I’m also kind of a nice bloke in a similar type way – two nice people helping each other out, karma and all that. And of course you’re also nice for giving me my things back and writing on that form. What a bunch of nice people we all are. I mean you’re not ‘picking up a bag’ or ‘dashing after a yellow scarf’-level of nice, but still… Lots of nice people around huh. Nice office by the way. Nice.”

I then asked him if the kind man, Matthew, had left any details. I wanted to reward him in some way – there was a lot of expensive stuff in my bag. The supervisor did have his details but couldn’t give me them because of ‘data protection’. Pschf.

So I never got a chance to thank this nice man who saw my bag and instead of thinking “Shit, some white Anglo-Saxon Christian anti-abortionist pro-firearms nutcase has left a bomb!”, thought “Ha, that daft lovestruck drunk fool has ran off without his bag, better hand it in.”

There’s a lesson in there somewhere. Probably; if you do nice things other people will do the same for you. Or; try to believe the best in people not the worst. Or maybe just; coincidences sometimes happen – best to just mind your scarf and rucksack as well as the gap.

About the author

Alan McCann

Don't just sit there, say something, the silence is freaking me out!