Monday, August 1, 2011

Tube Rave: Thank You, Holborn Station Staff - For Saving My Blackberry From An Untimely Death

Much worse things have happened, but at the very moment my Blackberry slipped from its cute Cath Kidston cover, bounced on the platform twice, and neatly slotted its fine self between the train and the platform onto the tracks below - I burst into tears.

I blame the novocaine.

You see, I'd just finished my seventh root canal appointment at the dentist and had gotten off the train at Holborn because an announcement was made that King's Cross was closed.  I didn't even WANT to get out at Holborn.  My jaw ached.  My teeth hurt.  My right cheek was semi-numb.  And I was hungry.

First, I walked away, convinced my phone was well and truly dead.  Then, when the train had passed, I peered over the edge and saw that it wasn't, in fact, dead, but rather forlornly lying face down on the side of the tracks nearest to the platform.  Feeling sorry for it and realizing it could be saved, I decided not to run the risk of being electrocuted or run over by a train and instead, tried the little "Information" button loudspeaker thingy on the platform.  A loud dial tone ensued by no one answered.  Everyone stared.

I raced up the stairs, up the two flights of escalators to Holborn station.  By now, I was REALLY hungry (and only John knows the extent of my hunger rage) and rather emotional - again.  I approached the nice looking ticket-checking/gate-guarding tube man and said, "Um, m-m-my phone ... it's ... I ... DROPPED IT. (hiccup hiccup)  I'm SO SORRY.  It's (hiccup) ON THE TRACKSSSSS," I cried.  "There, there!" he said, patting my arm.  "It's okay, do you remember where you dropped it?" he asked kindly.  "Um ... (hiccup) I was going eastbound ... towards King's Cross, on the Piccadilly line," I stuttered.  He spoke into his radio quickly, "A lady has dropped her phone on the tracks on Platform 4."  "Don't worry," he said as an aside to me. "It happens ALL the time.  And besides, it's only a phone!"  I hated myself for the tears, but again, I blamed the novocaine.

I watched the man as he helped numerous amounts of people find their way across London and cheerfully opened gates for people with heavy luggage or children.  I decided he was a Very Nice Person.

Then the Very Nice Person leaned over a few minutes later and said, "They've found your phone, but the station supervisor needs to stop a train before it enters onto the platform and retrieve it from the tracks."  I was pretty horrified.  I hadn't thought my stupid phone dropping incident would delay trains, if even momentarily.

The station supervisor emerged a few minutes afterward, waving my phone at me. "This yours?" he said sternly.  "Yes," I said gratefully.  "I'm so sorry!"  He wasn't amused.  "Now you need to pay up £20 because I had to stop a train to get it and it was a massive inconvenience."  "Really?" I asked.  "Um, YES, REALLY," he said.  "Okay, that's fine," I said, reaching for my wallet.  He burst out laughing and slapped his thigh.  "I love it, you really believed me!" he said, wiping his eyes.  "I'm so sorry, I feel really bad and I'm very sorry for the inconvenience," I said.  "Look," he said. "You're not the first one and you're not the last.  So please don't feel bad.  It happens all the time.  Don't feel bad."

I felt pretty bad.

So I did what John finds extremely embarrassing: I popped over to Costa coffee and bought two bags of mini muffins, proceeded to run behind the station supervisor and waved the muffins at him over the gate.  He pretty much looked at me like I was crazy.  "Please take these!" I shouted as tourists stared at the mad woman with mascara-tracks down her face waving bags of mini muffins.  "You shouldn't have done that, you know," he said.  "You really shouldn't have bothered."  "I know, but I wanted to thank you for being so nice and for helping me, so please give the other bag to the other man who helped me - thank you!" I babbled.  He took the muffins, thanked me, and I scurried away to call John and tell him about my adventure.

The end.


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