Traumatic Train Tales 02: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

You know what really grinds my gears?


People who take advantage of kindness. And you know what grinds my gears even more? People who take advantage of kindness without knowing that they are taking advantage of that kindness in the first place!

What I'm saying is... well, let me just tell you about an event that took place a while ago on one of my train commutes while I lived in Merry ol' England.

Something I will never, ever forget...


It all started innocently enough.

I was coming home late from work one Friday night (server crashed, emails were stuck, lots of angry phone calls, tears, etc, etc. Typical day in the life of an IT guy) and I had to restore it -- ASAP! No big deal, it happens. It's just time consuming project and because emails are 'super important', I needed to stay behind and get it to work ASAP! I couldn't leave it for over the weekend (can you imagine).

Anyway, now that the boring back-story is over, on to the main event.

So here I was sitting on a seat on the late night train back home playing on my brand new cell phone when this 'slightly' (I'm being polite) plump woman came in with the skinniest man I had ever seen. The guy could practically disappear if he turned sideways, that was how thin. Immediately, and to my shame, I started making parallels with Laurel and Hardy.



Anyway. The two of them were obviously coming back from what was clearly a better night than what I had, for they were unable to walk straight and reeking of alcoholic beaverages. The thin man was the worst off between the two as he not only could not stand without aid, but was nodding off to sleep while standing up. The larger lady plopped the individual down in an empty seat across the aisle from me and said something to him to which he laughed, the alcohol emanating from his lips almost liquored me up, and I was sitting three rows in front of the guy with AC blowing full blast in my face.

Suffice to say, I felt sorry for his internal organs.

Soon the 'slightly' plump lady got up and walked over to me.

"Excuse me, sir," she said in her impeccable BBC-like British accent (as in, I could understand her clearly which isn't as common as you might think in London), "My friend here is very drunk. Can you please see that he gets off at the correct station."

Seeing as she was being polite and that he was in no condition to form any cognitive thoughts, I said that I would ensure that he disembarked at the correct destination as it was where I would be getting off as well. She thanked me and left, the train departing the station a few minutes after. Seeing that all was well, that I was on my way home, I returned to playing on my new Android phone.

The first half an hour was fine. Nothing eventful took place. The man had fallen asleep and was, for the most part, behaving himself. He kept mumbling something every so often, but apart from that he was peaceful and I was getting a really high score on the latest game I had downloaded.

But peace does not last long.

The first thing that happened was he kept dropping his phone. Because I had agreed to watch over him, I somehow felt it was my responsibility to ensure that he didn't lose it. I kept placing it in his hands, but being as completely and utterly drunk as he was, the phone managed to find its way back onto the floor. It got really annoying after the eighth time it happened, so I tried waking him up to let him know that his phone kept falling out of his hands, but he was too far gone. He didn't even have the courtesy (or the ability) to keep his eyes open long enough for me to show him that I had his phone in my hands.

Frustrated, I pushed him to one side and shoved the phone into his pocket where it could never fall out. Satisfied that that would be the end of it, I sat back in my seat and was about to continue playing with my new phone when I heard a 'thump'. Somehow, through some unknown means, the phone had once again fallen out of his pocket.

Now I was so annoyed that I opened his man-purse/satchel/shoulder-bag and threw the offending device into it. Personal space be damned. Either that, or he loses his phone.

Thinking that all was over and done with, I returned to my seat and proceeded to mind my own business when he suddenly decided that now would be a great time to be awake! He stood up and stumbled past me heading in the general direction of the toilets.

Now, I'm not his nanny, so I didn't watch where he was going. So I continued to play on my phone when a really strange odor wafted through the carriage. It smelt somewhat familiar, but I just couldn't put my finger on it. It was a strange sour smell that I just couldn't place. Curious, I turn around and immediately regretted it.

The guy in question standing in front of the train's entrance/exit doors leaning against one of the poles and his pants getting increasingly wet down his thigh, shin, sock and shoes. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I didn't know what to do. What do you do in this kind of situation?

By the time I stood up to tell the individual that he needed to stop what he was doing and continue in the toilet, he had completely emptied his bladder and formed a small yellow lake in the entryway of the train. He wet himself, the floor, and even the carpet. I froze as he started to make the movements of zipping up his pants, which he never unzipped in the first place (thank goodness - there were things I didn't want to see). It was clear that he had finished what he set off to do and walked past me and returned to his seat (which is why to this day I never sit in that particular seat on any First Capital Connect train in the UK).

Still stunned, I turned to the hall where he had done his business and felt sick. The amount of liquid that came out of this guy was enough that there was now a sickening yellow puddle in front of the doors of the train that lazily followed the momentum of the train's journey through the English countryside; like a yellow wave-pool. The guy must have passed at least a third of his total body-weight in liquid waste.

We were just arriving at the first station and I had to warn everyone before they decided to stand in the pool of freshly created lemonade to wait for the automatic doors to open. This is why you should listen to people, as some poor lady found out. She didn't listen to me, deliberately ignoring me, until I literally had to raise my voice (in the English manner), to which she shot me a look of venom.

A part of me thought to leave her standing in the pool of urine, but I also wanted to make others avoid her fate. So I said loud enough to everyone within a suitable range (perhaps two carriages) to hear me.

"You're standing in piss, miss."

Again she ignored me. Others didn't, and quickly stopped themselves before stepping onto the wetness. Perhaps the only reason why she finally did notice was because most people were going away, heading towards others doors, and she was wearing these super-thin slippers.

She turned to look at me, as if accusing me of making everyone walk away, but I wasn't going to waste this opportunity. I pointed at the floor. She looked down and a long moment of confusion lingered before some light-bulb went off upstairs somewhere. At once she understood that I had tried to in vain to warn her before she stepped into the piss-puddle. Too little, too late.

Embarrassed, which was evident by the fact that her arms were blushing, she walked away .

Anyway, the rest of the train ride was pretty uneventful, probably because it wasn't long before the arrival at the station.

To freedom!

Or so I thought.

There has to be something said about my will to keep my word and my desire to do good by somebody, even if that person perhaps will never remember nor care. I blame my father. He always taught us that when you make a promise, you have to do your darnedest to keep it. So, I tried.

As we exited, I informed the chap that we had arrived and that he had to get off.

Nothing.

The train only stops for a few minutes before pushing off, so I seized him by his collar and hefted him up. I could have thrown this guy clear across a cricket pitch. He was so light that he could have been blown away by a calm summer breeze. Luckily for me, due to this, evacuating him outside the train was easily done and I half-helped, half-forced him to the nearest bench.

Then I informed a police officer.

The officer said that he'd keep an eye on him, but he wasn't going to do anything unless he was a danger to himself. I pointed out that, with his inability to stand up straight, he could run headfirst into the train tracks. The police then proceeded to 'guide' (as in, drag the drunk guy's ass) out of the station. This was, I'll admit, the most hilarious thing I had seen.

But it was late, dark, and I wanted to go home. As I was unlocking my bike at the station's bike area, I noticed this drunk walking by. He headed into the parking lot, for some strange reason. Now, the whole area is blocked off by a large fence, so there was literally no way out. Curious as to see what this guy was planning, I watched as he seemed to get lost in the empty concrete area, clearly confused as to why there was no way out.

Then he decides to leave by hugging the fence, which took him towards the bike parking area. I was on the other side, watching this whole thing unfold with mixed feelings. I still, for some reason, felt responsible.

The boundary between the bike area and the car park was divided by a large railing (for obvious reasons). The railing is, for the most part, not that high and easily scalable. That is if you're sober. The guy walked right up to it, studied it, and then, coming to some conclusion with himself, decided he would leap over it.

The attempt failed. Miserably. The subsequent 'crunch' as his face met the gravel on the other side and the fact that he collided with a number of bikes on his way down, made me cringe and a cold knot welled up in my chest. For the briefest of moments, I thought I watched a man die.

After checking his pulse, I was relieved to find that he was find. I called the medical services people and they came along and picked him up. They took a statement, which I tried to recap here in full.

The paramedic smacked my back and said: "Fookin' 'ell, mate. You really stuck 'round, didcha'? No good deed goes unpunished."

And indeed, since then, the phrase has stuck with me.

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