Yesterday, I got back to the station from a day at work in London and in front of me was a grandmum and her daughter, who was pushing a baby buggy. They looked a bit haggared, eroded in the wind, like a cliff face battered by the North Atlantic. Broken pieces of foundation flying off them like cornflakes. The grandmum was particularly hard looking, huge hooped earings, grim determined lines in her face, a harsh slash for a mouth, I half expected a fork tongue to poke in and out, but it didn't of course. Although that would have been cool.
I looked up at the stairs which led to street and had one of those awkward moments where I thought should I offer to help or not? In my best friendly disarming cockney voice, 'Allo madams, (doffs cap - if I was wearing one) I see you've got a bit of dilemma on yer 'ands, well let me 'elp ya. I wont charge you a farthing, let alone a shilling. It's me pleasure madams'.
I've been told curtly in the past to piss off and mind my own business when I've offered to do this, or viewed with suspicision as I do look like a dickensian villain who will steal your brief case and fence the contents off to buy broth. So on this occasion, and I must admonish myself, for I should not be swayed by how some people view my genuine offers of help and thus become one of the silent majority who become utterly self centred because of their pride. But at this point, I thought "fuck them" and let them get on with carrying their buggy up the stairs.
The grandmum had forearms like Popeye though, she was a downsight stronger than me by the looks of her. Probably a bare knuckle boxer in her day, so I didn't feel too bad about it.
Anyway, so they start their ascent, grandmum in front, veins all popping in her arm as she drags it up one handed, the more willowy daughter pushing upwards, and the younger lady shouts “MUM! I CAN’T HOLD IT!” and the buggy starts tipping sideways, ready to spill the baby. So that’s when I was required, so I readied my sinews for a majestic leap to save the child, catching it, before cracking my skull against the metal wall and dying myself, the sprawled but safe child cooing on my brain splattered body. In that split second I saw the headlines. “Hero dies saving baby”, except some bald northern dude intervened instead, who looked a bit like a fat Bruce Willis with no teeth, “Ere, let me help thee love” or whatever Yorkshire shit he spewed forth from his cake hole. He just steadied the buggy with one hand and helped to lift it up the stairs.
And the baby was safe. But I was ready. I tell you, I was ready to die.