Cluttered Box / London

The Weirdest Thing that Happened to Me on the Tube

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It’s been 4 months, and it was bound to happen at some point – I officially have had the most bizarre experience on the London Underground and I am happy to report that it was not as scary as I thought it would be. Apart from the blood involved. And the man. And the tube full of people. And that I can’t stand the sight of blood.

Intrigued? Well, I hope so because I don’t think I can top this story.

It was a regular Monday morning in December, the sky was grey and it was drizzling outside. Days like this usually call for a sullen mood and the ominous feeling of a long day ahead, but not this Monday. I was up early and ready to tackle the week – last week before Christmas holidays! Ah, that feeling of excitement when you feel like nothing can rain on your parade – not even the bloody rain. So I decided to wear my turquoise scarf and stand out that day (irrelevant but nice bit of information).

Got to the station, it’s around 5-7 minute walk from my flat in London. The train was on time, no delays despite the weather and everything was looking up. I didn’t get splashed on the way and my hair appeared to have survived the drizzle outside. For the first time in ages, I managed to get myself a seat on the tube. It was one of those seats which are at the end, next to the rear doors with that glass panel thing next to them. I was quite pleased with myself for getting the seat considering that the carriage was quite full.

The only problem I had this morning was that I had forgotten my book and my headphones at home. This meant that I was to stare aimlessly into nothing until I got off at my stop. Usually I would be very annoyed by this, but in retrospect, had I been wearing headphones, I would not have heard the sound of drops.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

At first I thought it was someone’ umbrella dripping near me, but on closer inspection, I realized there was a small pool of blood – yet blood –  right next to me. My eyes followed the source of the drops, and what I saw made me queasy.

Now remember, I was sitting on the seat next to the glass panel. On the other side of the panel, there was a man in a suit. Looked completely normal, except for the fact that he was holding onto the pole with a bloody hand. There was blood all over his fingers, down his hand and on the pole. The blood was sliding off the pole and falling onto the little space between the pole and the glass panel. The glass panel – where I am sitting.

So once I realized what the dripping was and where it was coming from, I am in a state of confusion and fear. This man looked indifferent to the situation, staring blankly into space. So I am looking at the blood, and then at him, and then the blood, and then him again. Meanwhile – no one else in the tube has realized this. Or maybe they did but thought it was inappropriate or impolite to say something. Another guy standing across this man notices what me looking at the blood and the man, and he smiles at me. Smiles. Who does that?!

In my mind I am debating, do I tell him or should I remain passive? I’ve never been the passive type, so the logical thing is to tell this man. But then I think of all the worst case scenarios. What if he just killed someone and is on the run. But then why would he be wearing a suit? What if he shoots me because I pointed at his blood? So – as you can imagine, a lot is going on inside my head… but I just can’t let it go.

Pulling myself together, for there is a whole lot of blood next to me right now, I clear my throat and say:

“Excuse me Sir, but your hand is bleeding”

And with that, I smile at the man and hope for the best. It took him a while to understand that I was indeed speaking to him, because people don’t usually talk to each other on the underground in London. He looks at his hand and his eyes widen in shock. OMG – How did this happen?!

Well, you tell me. I found a tissue in my bag and handed it to him, after which my stop came and I got off the tube. Everyone stared at me as I became the girl who told the man he was bleeding, something that you never do apparently.

This episode made me very uncomfortable because I came to realize that no one in London really cares. They will let whatever happen and not even flinch – even if it’s just pointing the obvious. This man had obviously hurt himself but hadn’t realized, and had been bleeding for God knows how long until I pointed it out to him. Yes, this is a weird example to go by, but where is the love people?!

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7 thoughts on “The Weirdest Thing that Happened to Me on the Tube

  1. Shocking isn’t it? Since when did we all become so obsessed with catching the 6.45 that we stopped caring? I was once walking down the concrete stairs at marylebone when a guy slipped and hit his head. He was bleeding everywhere and obviously concussed. What shocked me most wasn’t the fact I was the only person to stop but how the other commuters actually kicked him out the way in their rush to get to the station.

    Stories like this and your kindness at least restore some faith in human nature. Thanks for sharing

    Cheers
    Lindsey

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  2. I was totally there with you in this story. I think I would have had the exact same thoughts running through my head. Do I tell him? Why is no one reacting? Weird sociological stuff goes on with crowd mentality. They’ve done studies on it. Good for you for finally saying something. Everyone else was probably glad you did, had been having similar conversations in their own heads. That really is a freaky story!

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  3. Wow! Good thing you had the guts to let him know. How bizarre indeed.
    I think that the whole issue of nobody telling this man about his hand is a cultural thing? Now-a-day people are either ruled by fear or looking out for number 1. Would you agree?
    Blessings =)
    Staci

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  4. Crazy. I’m glad when you told him he was surprised rather than doing it on purpose. That would be creepy. Two strange things happened to me years ago. The first was a guy got on with a newspaper to read. All I could see was the top of his head which was bald except for one row, on what was to be his new hairline, of 4″ plugs of hair. No where else on his head. I tried really hard not to share. The other one was scary. It was about midnight on the Northern line heading to Edgeware and these thugs got on (there was only one other person besides me) and started spraying graffiti. I did not stare at that point! So glad to get off the train.

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  5. I’ve seen so many weird things like this on the tube in my many many years of commuting. I think there’s this thing with crowd mentality where everyone thinks that someone else will do something about it – it’s almost like diminished repsonsibility – there was a study I once read that found that the more witnesses to something there were, the less any of them were to do anything about it as they all thought “someone else is will be dealing with that!”

    I’ve seen it all over the place.

    I always take the chance to butt in where I think I’m not wanted, or to call attention – or (if I’m really in a rush – when I was getting to nursery to get my daughter etc), at least making sure that someone in the place knew about it.

    And that’s definitely two of us – and I know of many many more…so it’s not that NOONE in London cares 😉

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  6. Pingback: The 2 Bus Drivers You’d Encounter in London | My Clutter Box

  7. I don’t think its as bleak as you think. People in London are afraid to get involved. If it was a matter of life and death they would, as events in Australia proved this week. Psychological studies have shown that if everyone does the same thing ie. nothing it gets harder to do anything. If ever you’re atacked in the street don’t randomly cry for help point at the biggest guy there and ask him. He is then 100% responsible for you rather than 1% responsible in a busy street. Still your intervension marks you out as somone who will overide fear and social norms to help. You are entitled to devour a majorly large piece of chocolate.

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