I had my faith in human nature boosted last week. I was in London with my wife for a 10 day stay at our son’s and had to negotiate the tube on a busy Saturday with two cases and a laptop bag. At King’s Cross tube, distracted, tired or just plain stupid I put the laptop bag down on a platform bench while we waited for the next Piccadilly Line train. You’ve guessed. The train came. Two people and two cases boarded, but the laptop bag did not.
I realised my mistake in about 30 seconds. Got off at the first stop and returned to Kings Cross in about five minutes. The bag of course was not where I left it. I made my way to the station supervisor’s office where I was told that if it had been handed to or picked up by an underground employee it would be in his office. It wasn’t there. It might turn up in the next week. Sometimes people took a while to hand stuff in. He suggested I might speak to the Transport Police on the main station concourse given the contents of the bag – a laptop of course, but also my passport and driving licence and a few other items of note.
While I was with the police I received a text on my mobile and to cut a long story short it was a guy called Boris. At least that’s what he said his name was. He had my bag. The police dictated my responses. Boris wanted to meet at another north London tube station. The police said I should expect a demand for a hefty wedge of cash but added that they thought he was genuine as he’d given me an address that checked out and we had his mobile number which they could trace. I met him. He was. I have my bag and all its contents. He got a small reward by way of a thank you. He works in healthcare.
Faith in human nature restored! The sad thing is that as we chatted Boris indicated that he had decided to call me direct because he was an Eastern European. He anticipated a long engagement with the police while they tracked me down to corroborate that nothing was missing. He didn’t want to lose his afternoon. Maybe this was based on a previous bad experience, or maybe just the fear of one? His parting words – “You see not all Easter Europeans are ********s (expletive deleted). Mixed emotions. Pleased to have my stupidity countered by Boris’s honesty and helpfulness. Disappointed that his experience of the UK and its population has on occasion been less than positive I fear.