Yesterday I went to London to an exhibition at ExCel, it took 3 hours to get there with 7 stops. I did not see many smiling faces on my journey and even after rush hour I had to stand half of the way, perhaps the train has suddenly become popular with driving so expensive? Against this backdrop I had two encounters which brightened up my day:
At one stop I was queuing for a coffee, the girl in front of me had her credit card rejected and had no other means to pay. The barista told her to just pay next time. I think the girl was as surprised as me as she initially refused and only took the coffee when he said he would throw it away otherwise!?! Is this Starbucks’ policy or just a barista with a human touch? Result is probably a Starbucks fan and loyal customer.
Without breakfast I had purchased a croissant and some butter to have with my coffee, yum! I had not bargained on having to stand on a packed train. I must have looked pretty silly trying to juggle my coffee, butter and croissant. Londoners are not renowned for talking to strangers on a train so second shock of the day was a young guy offering to hold my coffee while I sorted my breakfast out!
These were rays of sunlight poking through the clouds.
My memories of travel are of many, many such times (even through my rose tinted glasses!). It reminds me of the time I returned from a few months on expedition as a bright eyed and bushy tailed 19 year old. Sitting on a train on the way home from the airport I asked a man who had just finished his newspaper if he minded if I have a look? Even 20 years later I remember the shocked look on his face as he handed over the paper before departing at the next stop no doubt thinking I was an escapee from an asylum as normal people don’t talk to strangers on the train!