I’m going to keep this fairly short and (not so) sweet because, firstly, I’m still drained from the bang to my head and secondly, you might have already read about the incident on social media. If you haven’t, below is a quick run-down of events and how freaking upsetting it felt to be faced with apathy when I was hurt and distressed on Tuesday with a knock to my head.
So, I arrived from Paddington, to Slough Train Station to make my Windsor connection on Tuesday late afternoon and having 20 minutes to wait for the Windsor train and feeling light-headed and flu-ey, I decided to nip to the bathroom. I tried with all my might to push open the heavy communal door which leads to the platform but misjudging it, crashed into it, the force nearly knocking me off my feet. I felt frightened by the blow and worried about concussion and was shocked and in pain.
Two women I’d noticed on entry, applying make up at the sink, appeared to have seen what happened but didn’t even enquire to see if I was OK. Panicked, I appealed to them that I was shocked having walking into the door. One of the women simply repeated what I had said, ‘Yes, you walked into the door’ and that was that.
As I got onto my train, distressed, I touched my forehead and noticed it was bleeding heavily. I looked in my hand mirror to find what appeared to be a deep cut. I rushed off the train, now sobbing in search of someone to help.
I had no tissues nor wet wipes on me (something I usually always carry) so approached the woman who witnessed what happened in the bathroom asking for tissues stating my head was bleeding. She appeared to have known it was bleeding from earlier.
Why she hadn’t informed me at the time, I’ll never know. Maybe she thought I knew. Either way, her indifference was startling. Then despite my anxiety at finding tissues, she sat sorting her bag in no apparent rush, did she not go to the toilet to get tissues for me. I just hope she never needs help herself one day and is faced with apathy.
I felt so incredibly vulnerable and alone at that point and writing this angers me more than anything. I’m angry that I was made to feel like that.
I was dizzy, in pain and bleeding yet was met with absolute apathy.
I couldn’t see a train guard and the others simply turned a blind eye.
Since sharing my experience on social media, many others have responded that they too have been ignored or even walked over when injured on public transport. This apparent desensitisation is worrying.
Yes, indifference often comes with life in a Metropolis (although I’m happy to declare, I’ve never known a place as friendly as Windsor) but compassion is what makes us human. We must hang onto it and throw kindness around like confetti.
I remember rushing to help a lady who had collapsed on the street by the taxi rank in Waterloo and was startled that no one else offered to help me try and lift her up. NO ONE. I called an ambulance and she was looked after but how long had she been laying there? What would have happened if I hadn’t have come along?
Yes, of course we must be vigilant and not put ourselves in danger when helping others (some people are sadly dangerous) but no one appeared scared of me at that train station, they were simply, not bothered to help. They were unmoved.
The fact I felt so rejected by my experience reminds me of how much love I have around me in real life- that, that is my default. My circle reflect my own values, and I’m relieved I’ll never be like those unfeeling people.
The support online is a million times what I experienced IRL that day and good people are, of course, out there. ‘Look for the helpers’, as Fred Rogers famously said. Sadly the usual helpers were on holiday on that platform.
Luckily, my faith was restored by a woman with four children on the train, who kindly gave me tissues and wet wipes, and reassured me that someone trained in First Aid would help me once I arrived in Windsor, 5 minutes away.
Walking to Information at the station, I was seen by a doctor who happened to be buying a ticket.
Kindness. There it was. Two minutes of time and energy to show some care. To not look away or ignore. To smile.
I arrived home to hugs from Oliver who was off school with his father looking after him, due to being unwell.
‘I would have helped you Mummy, I can’t believe no one helped you’ he shouted at me, before taking a look at my scar and declaring I looked cool, like Harry Potter.
I’m so glad to be raising the future. A compassionate future.
Please be kind, people, please just be kind.