I was running late as it was, my bus had just arrived at the station as my train was pulling in. So I ran off the bus and right on the train with no more than 5 seconds to spare before the whistle blew and the train started to pull off. Wheezing heavily and already in a panicky mood the ticket man was coming down the train… this is when things got bad.
I had already paid for my tickets and just had to collect them. Had the confirmation and everything, but due to the bus running late I couldn’t collect the tickets in the space of 5 seconds. I explained this to the guy, showed him my confirmation and he then asked for some ID. Thinking nothing of it, I handed my Drivers Provisoonal to him and he started jotting some things down. I thought why was he writing down my details, but then drew my attention back to my breathing to help regulate it.
He handed back my ID, looked at me in my eyes and bluntly said ‘You have a penalty fare for not having a ticket’ I’m now instantly shocked thinking ‘What the fuck have I done?’ **I want to express that I have never been given a penalty or fine, I am normally really prepared for situations, but this had been a bad day so everything kind of blurred together.** I can now feel my heart to begin racing, and I once again explained the situation basically pleading with him as I really did not need this today. Again bluntly, he turned toward me saying ‘Your excuses are invalid to me, you have 21 days to pay the fine or further action will be required. I need to know where you are travelling to and you will need to pay for a new ticket.’ So now we have discovered that Chelsea has landed herself in a lot of shit, and is panicking and freaking the fuck out, which he can clearly see.
I paid for a new ticket, and just sat there rapidly breathing repeating the words ‘I can’t breathe’ while he was finishing off the details. Now I know he probably sees a lot of people faking this, but even the lady in front turned to him and said ‘Have mercy on her, she clearly is having a bad experience’ to which he turned around to walk away and said ‘No mercy is taken on people who abuse the system.’ So as he walks away, I get out my seat and head to the train window to try and get some air. So not only have I paid my original ticket, I have now paid for a new one and got a fine.
I sit on the floor by the window, and all I can remember was thinking that I can’t stop this attack, I’m going to have to let it win. I did just that. I sat there on the ground barely breathing, tears streaming down my face, my whole body shaking. This guy passed me numerous times while walking up and down the carriages, but never once decided to just to try and calm me down. By now I did not care about the penalty, I just needed help.
As the train arrived at the station, and everyone began to get off I saw women struggling to get her baby into the pushchair. Without even a flinch, I got up and helped her as no one else was going to. And that’s the difference between myself and this man, he saw her struggling and walked past her. He saw me struggling and walked past me. I saw her struggling and put aside everything and helped. She turned to me and said ‘I saw you having a panic attack, and yet you still come to other peoples rescue. What a lovely girl you are’
There is no real big lesson to this story, nor a moral of the story. Just makes you think how some people in this world behave. If any staff from Great Western Rail are reading this, I know it’s your policy and you have to abide by that, but being kind takes nothing.