This weekend I had the first test of the Great British Public’s approach to buggies on trains. Sonface had his first trip out on a train, as you can see he was pretty entranced by the lights and movement going on around him. It’s at times like this I wish I could pop him in a sling, know he’d sleep and we’d all be happy and jolly and not have to risk throwing the buggy down the large gap between trains and platforms. Sadly he doesn’t fall asleep instantly in the sling, he hasn’t read the instructions or listened to every other parent who raves about slings. Silly boy. The buggy it had to be then, naps being essential to his and my general happiness and well being.
I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I was determined to throw myself on the mercy of the Public. Which had a variety of results. I forgot we were going to London and were in England. I think I expected a bit more in the way of helpfulness.
Anyway, there were several responses:
This involved someone leaning towards the buggy with a hand outstretched stopping short of the buggy by quite a way whilst I twisted it off the train. A weak effort to say, I know you are there, I would help if I wasn’t so English and reserved. Ineffective, a bit wet and generally unhelpful.
The begrudgingly helpful.
This from people behind me who I was stopping getting off the train, they couldn’t quite push past without seeming very rude and so they deliberately looked away from my face and grabbed a portion of the buggy as they rushed out the door. Kind of helpful, kind of made me feel like scum for daring to get in their way.
The Dad who has to help.
I think this is the best plan, follow another buggy onto the train with a Dad being helpful to his partner. He’ll then turn around and feel obliged to help you out and will know not to grab the side of the buggy and twist it over like some ‘helpful’ people tried to do…
The insistently helpful.
At my destination I had to bump the buggy down lots of stairs, because this was one of those platforms that disabled people really shouldn’t get out at as there was no lift. I’m pretty good at bumping the buggy down stairs and can even keep the boy asleep whilst doing it. I was offered help by a lovely lady, I was fine and said that but she insisted on grabbing the side of the buggy and giving us an awkward slightly dangerous descent down the stairs. Love the sentiment but maybe not the execution…
All in all a fairly mixed response. Without the sonface I definitely fall into the first category, I’m hoping I’ll be a bit more helpful to those around me in the future, making eye contact, asking if they want help and smiling in a way that tells them they aren’t an inconvenience but a fellow human being struggling through this life.