Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dear Northern Irish Tube Driver Lady ...

... I love you.  You make my day.  When I get on the Bakerloo train that you're driving, I know that no matter what happens between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., my day will be better because of you. 

First of all, I love your accent.  It's lovely.  It reminds me of Father Ted.  You probably get that all the time, but I don't care - I have to tell you anyway - your voice reminds me of Father Ted.  When I hear your voice, it reminds me of a grandma sitting in front of a crackling fire in a rocking chair with a crocheted afghan across her lap.  In fact, I don't think you're actually driving the train.  I think you're actually knitting and sipping a cup of tea at intervals, with a lovely calico cat beside you which you pat occasionally.

Secondly, I love the things you say.  I love how, when we pulled into Piccadilly Circus this morning, you said "Next stop is Piccadilly Circus ... please mind the gap here, it's quite big.  (pause)  Well, it's big to me because I've got short legs.  When God passed out short legs, I was first in the queue.  When he passed out everything else, I was last in the queue."  I love how you tell customers to step off the train if necessary to let others on and that if they do, you'll "promise not to leave [them] because [you're] watching."  I feel like you really care about me, about us - the stony-faced, suited, selfish morning commuters on the Bakerloo line. 

Thirdly, I love watching how people react to you.  Some laugh, some smile, some scowl and some roll their eyes.  'How sad are you?' I think, when I see a man or woman frown and roll their eyes at your voice.  'How sad are you, that you can't even appreciate this little brightness in your day?  This human interaction that I instinctively crave and you instinctively push away?'  Because, you see, Northern Irish Tube Driver Lady, I'm not sure if you're aware, but tube drivers don't speak to us.  Sometimes they'll come on to tell us of a line closure or delay, but often, there's no communication between the driver and us.  Sometimes, we won't even get any communication if we're stuck in a tunnel for 10 minutes.  Only in the 12th minute of entrapment will a voice reluctantly crackle to life, telling us in a bored tone that we're "being held at a red signal" whatever that means.  But not you.  Oh no.  You describe to us in detail what's happening, everything we can't see.  You tell us that the platform at Oxford Circus is exceptionally full.  You tell us that service on all underground lines is not just "good", it's "brilliant, fabulous, really great." 

And for that, Northern Irish Tube Driver Lady, I want to thank you.  Thank you for making my (and probably at least 80% of everyone else who rides your train) day.  I don't know who you are or what you look like, but if I ever get the opportunity, I would love to personally thank you.

Yours sincerely,

JT x


  1. Dear,

    Thank you for bringing a little brightness into MY day with your post(s). Tube drivers with a sense of kindness and humor are little blobs of happines, and thank you for reminding me that I, too, need human interaction every now and then.

    Yours sincerely,
    Anonymous x

    Yours sincerely,

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    Thank you for your wonderful comment(s) and for reading my blog. I hope you have a fantastic day, whoever you are.

    Yours sincerely,
    Angloyankophile xxx

  3. Jaime- I loved this story. As someone that commutes to Boston every week, I wish I had someone as special as the Northern Irish Lady to listen to... thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you, Piper! I think everyone needs a Northern Irish Tube Driver Lady in their life, whatever form that person may take!

  5. I was only telling my family tonight about this 'wonderful Irish tube driver' I had the joy of travelling with recently and thought that there's bound to be a dialogue about her somewhere online. Glad you've brought her joyful commentary to the wider community. She made me, and some sour-faced jaded commuters, laugh out loud. A not-to-common happening on the tube methinks. Rob from Bath

  6. Rob, thank you for your comment! I was surprised when I searched for her online and couldn't find any sort of "dialogue", as you say, about her. If you read (or have already read) the "update" I posted a few posts later, she's actually a substitute driver, which explains why we have her so rarely! Hope you get to travel with her again ... as I do.


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